What is the function of the cingulated sulcus

The “belt turn” is an internal part of the cortex. An example of how it works is the Stroop test: the word “red” is written in green letters - and you have to name the font color.

Scientific supervision: Prof. Dr. Herbert Schwegler

Published: 09.09.2011

Level: difficult

As the largest part of the limbic system, the cingulate gyrus influences attention and concentration, processes pain and regulates affects. If it is damaged, the patient lacks drive: They appear emotionally dull and move little.

Cingulotomy: last resort

In a cingulotomy, the doctor permanently cuts the cingulate gyrus in an operation. The patient's psyche changes irreversibly as a result; However, the intervention can be the last resort for therapy-resistant obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression as well as for severe chronic pain. Nowadays, however, a cingulotomy is rarely performed, and other procedures have become more attractive. For example deep brain stimulation, in which implanted electrodes stimulate certain areas of the brain. In contrast to cutting through a brain area, this method is reversible.

The cingulate gyrus can only be seen when the brain is cut lengthways in the middle and opened. It is the part of the cerebral cortex above the bar - the corpus callosum, which connects the two hemispheres. As the largest part of the limbic system, the cingulate gyrus influences attention, pain processing and the regulation of affects. He is also part of the Papez circle, which begins and ends at the hippocampus and is significantly involved in the permanent storage of memory contents.

Gyrus cinguli translates from Latin as "belt curl". Because it lies like a belt on the beam and runs parallel to it from front to back. But not only the cerebral cortex directly above the bar is part of it, but also its continuation into the furrow that borders it upwards - the cingulate sulcus. Interestingly, the surface of the cingulate gyrus varies greatly from person to person: Its sulci are in different places and in some people the cingulate gyrus is even divided into two parallel gyri by an additional, paracingular sulcus.

Together with the hippocampal gyrus, the cingulate gyrus forms the outer ring of the limbic system. The bar is the boundary between the outer and inner ring; but the two are not really separate; the cingulate gyrus is well connected to all other parts of the limbic system via fiber connections.