Papez circuit by Thomas A. Ban

Papez circuit has been called, “a reverberating circuit in the brain which consist of the cingulate gyrus, hippocampus, amygdala, mammillary bodies, hypothalamus and anterior thalamus” (Kaplan and Saddock 1988). It was named after James Papez who, in 1939, suggested that emotions are processed through these structures in the brain before becoming subjectively experienced feelings in the cerebral cortex (Ban 2011; Papez 1939). The Papez circuit is also referred to as “limbic lobe”, because its site corresponds with Paul Broca’s “great limbic lobe” (Broca 1878), and “visceral brain, because of its numerous connections with the autonomic nervous system (Maclean 1942).

Ban TA. Preface. In Ban TA, editor. An Oral History of Neuropsychopharmacology. Volume 2 (Fink M, volume editor. Neurophysiology). Brentwood: American College of Neuropsychopharmacology; 2011, pp. IX-XXII.

Broca P. Anatomie compare des corconvolutions cérebralés; le grand lobe limbique.  Rev Anthrool 1878 1: 385-498.

Kaplan HI, Saddock BJ, editors. Synopsis of Psychiatry, Behavioral Sciences, Clinical Psychiatry. Fifth edition. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins; 1988.

MacLean PD. Psychosomatic disease and the visceral brain. Recent developments bearing on the Papez theory of emotions.  Psychosom Med 1949; 11: 338-53.   

Papez W. A proposed mechanism of emotions. Arch Neurol Psychiatry 1937; 38:725-43.


Thomas A. Ban
December 17, 2015.