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Psychology Glossary

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Reticular Formation

The reticular formation is a portion of the brain that is located in the central core of the brain stem. It passes through the medulla, pons, and stops in the midbrain. Its functions can be classified into 4 categories: motor control, sensory control, visceral control, and control of consciousness. Motor control refers to physical movements or activities such as walking or running. Sensory control consists of all the senses including pain. Visceral control encompasses breathing, heart rate and blood pressure. Control of consciousness refers to alertness, sleeping, and various conscious states. Therefore, people who have difficulties with pain, alertness, or physical coordination might have damage to their reticular formation.

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