The major white matter pathways

Learning outcomes

By the end of this module, you should be able to:


  • describe the anatomical structure of the major white matter pathways and their connections


  • explain the role of white matter pathways in regulating major neurophysiological and neuropsychological functions


  • discuss the pathways mediating higher order motor functions


  • describe the role of white matter pathways in forming the auditory, visual and language pathways


  • identify the conditions associated with disruption of the white matter pathways


  • explain the pain pathways and pain modulating mechanisms.


Image: White matter fiber tracts by Katie Reinecke, CC BY 3.0 

Module introduction

Have you ever wondered what makes the brain and the body work in harmony with each other, enabling us to function effectively?


In this module we look at how the brain perceives the sensory stimuli received from the sensory organs and regulates the functions of the body by conveying processed information to the relevant muscles and organs.


We are going to take you on a journey into the deeper structures of the brain in order to understand the intricate details of what facilitates the vital functions of the body.


Learning notes

We recommend that you make some notes as you work through this module.We recommend that you make some notes as you work through this module.


The 'TrOn Notebook' facility can be accessed throughout the module (allowing you to make notes on each page), and these notes will be saved in your personal area 'My TrOn', for future reference. However, you will not be able to print these notes as one single document.


If you would prefer to make your notes in a separate document you may wish to download the 'learning notes' below. This downloadable Word document will allow you to keep a personalised record of your learning, which you can then save and/or print for future reference.


Download the learning notes document for this module


Continue to Section 1

© 2020 Royal College of Psychiatrists