What Does the Thalamus Do?

The ultimate processor

If you are reading this, then thank your thalamus. 98% of all signals is relayed by the thalamus. The 2% that isn’t belongs to olfactory information, or information relating to smell. The thalamus takes whatever information the body picks up and sends it off to the cerebral cortex. Regarding senses, it characterizes those signals as auditory, tactile, or gustatory (taste). Different lobes of the cortex receive different signals after they have been characterized.

The thalamus not only processes sensory information, but also signals from the cortex itself. When signals pass through the thalamus, they get sent to the cerebral cortex. Often, the thalamus will take that information, change it, and sends it back to the cortex. The thalamus is divided into various nuclei that process different types of information. Some roles of these nuclei include relaying and processing information for sleep, wakefulness, alertness, sight, arousal, balance, taste, temperature, bodily position, and perhaps maintenance of consciousness.

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