reptilian brain: parts and functions
Parts of Reptilian Brain: Over time, certain evolutionary improvements have been implemented in the brains of human beings that have allowed us to adapt to the different changes that have been presented to us and this is one of the main reasons why we have survived as a species It is said that our brain is 3 times higher than that of primates and at the same time it is made up of different areas that have been incorporated over time over time throughout evolution.
In this way, it has been found that there are three types of brains, which are the following: the reptilian brain, the emotional brain or limbic brain and finally the rational brain or neocortex. In this online Psychology article, we will talk about what the reptilian brain is: parts and functions. In addition, we will let you know in detail what this type of brain consists of.
What is the reptilian brain ?: definition
As we know the brain has been constantly evolving over more than 250 million years and throughout this process, it has been acquiring new functions and increasingly complex skills. The oldest brain, to which the limbic and the neocortex have been added later is the reptilian brain.
This brain was identified and developed through MacLean’s triune brain theory. The reptilian brain, also known as the R complex or reptilian complex, is what we share with other mammals and reptiles. It is mainly responsible for implementing our most basic and primitive functions, such as protecting ourselves from possible threats, defending ourselves and fleeing to ensure our own survival. He is also responsible for carrying out some unconscious and involuntary behaviors such as our breathing, blood pressure, temperature, balance, among others. The reptilian brain or reptilian complex occupies approximately 5% of our total brain mass.
Characteristics of the reptilian brain
This type of brain is not reflexive and, on the contrary, acts unconsciously and instinctively. Having as its main function to take care of our own survival, it is considered that it is also in charge of making it difficult for us to achieve our personal goals since it feels safe only being in a known terrain, however when it enters unknown terrain, it feels extremely threatened and prefers to flee and escape before facing something new.
Parts of the reptilian brain
The reptilian brain is formed by the reticular system, the cerebellum, the basal ganglia, and the brain stem. Below we will briefly explain what each of these parts of the brain consists of:
- Basal ganglia: These are neuronal structures that are connected to each other and are located deep within the cerebral cortex. The nasal nodes have the main function to process the information about our own body movement to adjust it to the different situations and also to carry out an appropriate act. For example, when we want to drive a car, we have to carry out certain actions and body movements to do it correctly. So it also helps us plan our actions to achieve some goal.
- Reticular system: This is a set of neurons that are located in the brain, near the spinal cord. The main function of this system is to regulate the state of sleep and wakefulness. He is also in charge of filtering the information that comes through the senses, choosing those data that are of interest and putting aside those that are irrelevant, which ultimately do not reach consciousness.
- Cerebellum: It is one of the oldest parts of our brain and is located in the posterior fossa of the skull, is an extremely compact organ. The main function of the cerebellum is to maintain proper balance and muscle coordination.
- Brain stem It is located between the remainder of the brain and spinal cord. The brain stem or also called the brainstem is formed by 4 different areas that are connected to the diencephalon. The main task of the brain stem is to serve as a circulation route for almost all sensory pathways, with the exception of olfactory and visual.
Functions of the reptilian brain according to psychology
Once we know what the reptilian brain is and its parts, it is important to know the functions of the reptilian brain.
The reptilian brain fulfills different functions in our daily life, then we will mention in more detail what they are exactly.
- Survival. As we have seen before, the main function of the reptilian brain is to keep us protected from any threat that may arise and also ensure our survival. Although it is certainly an essential and extremely important function, sometimes, if we do not know how to control it, it can prevent us from achieving our vital goals and objectives when facing new situations. This is because he perceives new situations as possible threats and prefers to stay in the “safe area.”
- Regulate basic vital functions. As we saw earlier, it is responsible for the regulation of our basic functions such as breathing and cardiac functions.
- Avoid pain. It is responsible for seeking pleasure and all those sensations that are pleasant to the person.
- Territorial behavior It is one of our own survival instincts which makes us tend to defend our home and also take care of the people closest to us and our belongings.
- Reproductive need To ensure survival, the reptilian brain is responsible for activating our sexual instinct and motivation that causes other people to attract us.
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