2-Minute Neuroscience: Basal Ganglia

2-Minute Neuroscience: Basal Ganglia

Welcome to 2 minute neuroscience, where I
simplistically explain neuroscience topics in 2 minutes or less. In this installment
I will discuss the basal ganglia. The basal ganglia are a group of structures
found deep within the cerebral hemispheres and the brainstem that include the caudate,
putamen, globus pallidus, substantia nigra, and subthalamic nucleus. The caudate and putamen
are often referred to collectively as the striatum, and the globus pallidus and substantia
nigra are each made up of multiple nuclei. Although there are a variety of nonmotor functions
associated with the basal ganglia, they are best known for their role in facilitating
movement. Much of the information the basal ganglia
receives comes from the cerebral cortex and travels first to the caudate or putamen, the
main input nuclei of the basal ganglia. The globus pallidus and substantia nigra are the
main output nuclei, and they send projections out from the basal ganglia to the cerebral
cortex, mostly by way of the thalamus, as well as to nuclei in the brainstem. Activity in the nuclei of the basal ganglia
doesn’t cause movement independently, but instead the basal ganglia influence activity
in other areas of the brain like the motor cortex to affect movement. The ways in which
the basal ganglia do this are not fully understood, but one hypothesis is that there are different
circuits in the basal ganglia that promote and inhibit movement, respectively. According
to this model, the main output of the basal ganglia is inhibitory and the neurons in the
globus pallidus are constantly inhibiting the thalamus to prevent unwanted movements. When a signal to initiate movement is sent
from the cortex to the basal ganglia it follows a circuit in the basal ganglia known as the
direct pathway, which leads to the silencing of neurons in the globus pallidus. This frees
the thalamus from the inhibitory effects of the globus pallidus and allows movement to
occur. There is also a circuit within the basal ganglia called the indirect pathway,
which involves the subthalamic nucleus and leads to increased suppression of unwanted
movements. It is thought that a balance between activity in these two pathways may allow for
smooth movement.


  1. Take 3 mins to complete the video instead and speak bit slowly. You are not telling a story, but a bunch of new words, it takes a while to register such scientific words in a person's mind. Youtube slow speed option doesn't work, instead they should have a 0.75-speed option.

  2. We understand that you already understood the whole thing but you should have slowed it down, we barely realize a thing of what you have said

  3. Great video to refresh the memory of someone who's already been taught this, thanks! But maybe a longer version to newly teach someone would be good too, I would've struggled if this was my first introduction.

  4. Thanks man you saved me
    For all those people saying "you are too quick to follow" you can pause the video to absorb what he's saying or note it down if you want

  5. I think you taught it at the perfect speed. If you can't follow along, he posts the transcripts in the description. It's called 2-Minute Neuroscience for a reason.

  6. Confused: One of your videos says the substantia nigra is in the brainstem; this one says it's in the basal ganglia, which is part of the cerebrum. Please clarify? (PS – these are excellent videos and very helpful.)

  7. Very, very good review videos. Perfect speed, very clean drawings and figures. Thank you very much.

  8. Lol. You can now decrease speed at 0.75x, so it's not AS SLOW as 0.5x. But, it still sounds drunkish.

    Great job with the video!!

  9. It would be a lot simpler if you just described the activity or active flows without naming the parts. Too wordy and you lost me as I have no idea what the parts of the brain are called.

  10. Fun fact for the people who don't like the pace: Press K on your keyboard to stop the video. Pressing J will rewind the video 10 seconds.

    You're welcome 😉

  11. Perfect.  Of course this isn't a detailed explanation.  But I now know what the basal ganglia is and, generally, what it does.  I'm left with fundamentals that I will be able to remember– something that isn't always the case by a long shot.  If I want to learn more, there are plenty of sources I can turn to that I will better understand with this foundation of knowledge.

  12. bruh i been tryin to read this for an exam and the books made no sense. this functionally explains it perfectly

  13. In Tourette's can body tics change in different parts if the body or do eye twitch always eye twitch
    A person has an eye twitch and then maybe a couple years later they'll have a twitch somewhere else on the body is that possible or somebody lying to me

  14. This video had me Google how to disable info boxes on YouTube. As if the speed wasn't challenging by itself.

  15. SO happy with these videos! They are the best revision for when too tired to read. PLease dont slow them down!!

  16. I am confused, you said its receive information from the cerebral cortex, then you said it sends information to the cerebral?

  17. What’s the difference between the Basal Ganglia and the Amygdala? Not being a neuroscientist, they seem to occupy the same place and have two different functions. Any video on that?

  18. Don't know why they see it is not understandable: besides being able to rewind/rewatch it (it's 2 minutes, they are not going to stay here 1h), it is meant to be a quick recap and not a comprehensive explanation

  19. Interesting video. Was looking for an explanation for Benign Essential Blepharospasms happening to me. This was a bit eye opening and shocking. Thought it was something you could disconnect and this stop this horrible disorder. Guess I’m here to learn more now on how we can figure Dystonia out.


  21. This is great. Really love your videos. Its getting me through my central nervous systems chapter in A&P. Just a quick question, i was told that the Basal Nuclei once were (and often still are) referred to as "Basal Ganglia" (which you mention) is actually a misnomer; as "ganglia" are collections of cell bodies in the PNS. Just was wondering if that is correct or if i was given misinformation? Cheers and keep up the great work!

  22. This was perfect. I read this section in the book about 10 times and was lost. This was exactly what I needed for the “light bulb” moment. Thank you!!!!

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