What is the reptilian brain: parts and functions

  • Jul 26, 2021
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What is the reptilian brain: parts and functions

Over time, certain evolutionary improvements have been implemented in the brain 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 species. It is said that our brain is 3 times greater than that of primates and at the same time is made up of different zones that over time have been incorporated one on top of the other throughout the evolution.

In this way, it has been found that there are three types of brains, which are the following: reptilian brain, the emotional brain or limbic brain and finally the rational brain or neocortex. In this Psychology-Online article, we will talk about what is the reptilian brain: parts and functions. In addition, we are going to let you know in detail what this type of brain consists of.

As we know, the brain has been in constant evolution over more than 250 million years and throughout this process it has been acquiring new functions and increasingly complex abilities. The oldest brain, to which the

limbic and neocortex is he reptilian brain.

This brain was identified and developed through the MacLean's triune brain theory. The reptilian brain, also known as R complex or reptilian complex, It is what we share with other mammals and reptiles. It is mainly responsible for launching our most basic and primitive functions such as example, protect ourselves from possible threats, defend ourselves and flee to ensure our own survival. It is also in charge of 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 kind of brain is not reflective On the contrary, he acts unconsciously and instinctively. By having as its main function taking 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 familiar terrain, however when you enter unfamiliar terrain, you feel extremely threatened and prefer to flee and escape before facing something new.

What is the reptilian brain: parts and functions - What is the reptilian brain?: definition

The reptilian brain is made up of 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 neural structures that are connected to each other and are located deep within the cerebral cortex. The nasal ganglia have as their main function to process information about our own body movement to adjust it to different situations and also carry out an act suitable. 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 to plan our actions to achieve some goal.
  • Reticular system: It 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. It is also in charge of filtering the information that comes through the senses, choosing those data that are of your interest and putting aside those that are irrelevant, which finally 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, as it 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 what is left of the brain and the spinal cord. The brainstem, or also called the brainstem, is made up of 4 different areas that are connected to the diencephalon. The main task of the brain stem is to serve as a route of circulation for almost all sensory pathways, with the exception of the olfactory and visual.
What is the Reptilian Brain: Parts and Functions - Parts of the Reptilian Brain

Once we know what the reptilian brain and its parts are, it is important to know the functions of the reptilian brain.

The reptilian brain fulfills different functions in our daily life, below we are going to mention in more detail what they are exactly.

  • Survival. As we have seen previously, the main function of the reptilian brain is to keep us protected from any threat that may arise and also to ensure our survival. Although it is undoubtedly an essential and extremely important function, sometimes, if we do not know how to control it, can prevent us from achieving our vital goals and objectives when facing situations new. This is because it 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 regulating our basic functions such as breathing and heart 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 that 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 instinct and sexual motivation that causes other people to attract us.

This article is merely informative, in Psychology-Online we do not have the power to make a diagnosis or recommend a treatment. We invite you to go to a psychologist to treat your particular case.

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