Everything in the brain is interrelated; perhaps it is the very first cooperative learning environment 😉
Like the amygdala, the pituitary, which is the size of a small marble, is small and located in the center of the skull. The pituitary’s function is to produce hormones that help control bodily functions, and it does this as a result of the directions it receives from the hypothalamus. Growth, reproduction, and the conservation of water are among the functions regulated by these hormones.
The hypothalamus monitors how your body is doing internally, and based upon that monitoring directs the pituitary to release hormones. Some of the functions monitored by the hypothalamus are temperature, appetite, and sexual functioning.
In terms of monitoring, we’ve got the inside of the body covered, but what about what is going on outside of the body? Turns out that is the job of the thalamus. Before the hippocampus can catalogue and file information, that information has to be filtered through the thalamus.
The thalamus sends information to the part of the brain that deals with that type of information; in other words, as information comes in via our five senses (hearing, sight, smell, taste and touch) it gets sent to the appropriate part of the brain for that type of information. If the brain decides the information is a keeper, the factual portion is sent to the hippocampus, and the emotional component – if there is one – gets sent to the amygdala.
The pituitary, hypothalamus and thalamus cooperate as part of the Endocrine System and you can explore more about this system at the sites below.
KidsHealth – Endocrine System
American Medical Association – picture of the Endocrine System
Colorado State University’s Pathophysiology of the Endocrine System
or go directly to The Hypothalamus and Pituitary Gland
and a wonderful image of a partially labeled brain
which can be clicked on for a large, unlabeled version