Using more than 400 references, 18 principles of structural and functional organization referable to the ventrobasal complex are presented. Many may be regarded as well established and some as working hypotheses. The 18 are categorized under the labels of somesthetic sources, laterality, somatotopy, subnuclear organization, receptive field unity and stability, preservation of relative size of smallest receptive fields, differential development of projections from specialized body regions, differential location of projections from smallest receptive fields, differential overlap of adjacent afferent projections, preservation of submodality information, spatial distribution of submodalities, confluence of multiple afferent pathways, numerical augmentation, thalamocortical projections, corticothalamic specificity, spatiotemporal transactions, phylogenetic specialization, and neurobehavioral correlations.Following the presentation of the foregoing, the discussion is directed toward views concerning ways and means of improving our understanding of the circuits in which the ventrobasal complex is involved.

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