The diagram provided shows a simplified outline of the brain with the hypothalamus
highlighted. What are the major functions of the hypothalamus? (A) To process auditory and visual information. (B) To control voluntary movement and help with memory and learning. (C) To control hunger and sleep cycles and to regulate body temperature. (D) To process visual information. (E) To control fine motor and involuntary movements.
This question is asking us to recall the major functions of the hypothalamus. So, to answer this question, let’s review what we know about the hypothalamus.
The hypothalamus is a brain structure found deep within the forebrain. In general, while upper structures of the forebrain are involved in higher reasoning,
motor control, and sensory processing, deeper structures are involved in autonomic
functions, homeostasis, endocrine control, and regulation of our emotions.
The hypothalamus is specifically responsible for regulating autonomic functions. This includes involuntary functions, such as the rhythm of our sleep cycles and the
temperature regulation of our body. The hypothalamus also controls the endocrine system by sending signals to the
pituitary gland, a pea-sized gland that releases different hormones. So not only is the hypothalamus in charge of waking you up in the morning, but it is
also responsible for keeping you cool as well as getting your adrenaline flowing
during a test or performance.
With this information, we are ready to answer the question. The major functions of the hypothalamus are to control hunger and sleep cycles and to
regulate body temperature.