More about your brain

Dennis AkersDennis Akers | Director, IH Mataró

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Did you know your brain is divided into three basic parts? What follows is a very simplistic but easy to understand description of how the human brain works.

The first part is your "reptile" brain. It's deep inside your head and sits at the top of your spine just above your neck. It controls all your primitive functions. You're not aware of what the reptile brain is doing but its working 24 hours a day to keep you breathing. It also keeps your heart beating and your digestive system digesting. When you get really angry your reptile brain takes you over! And it's pretty active when you're attracted to someone else too! That's the reptile brain.

The second part is the limbic system. You find this also tucked away deep in the middle of your brain. Like the reptile brain, you're not directly aware of what it's doing, but is does a fine job managing your emotions and memory. What we call “love” is probably located here.

The third part of the brain is called the Neo-cortex, the wrinkly bit on the outside. The Neocortex does all your thinking and can talk to the other two parts for you. For example, it can listen to the limbic system to help you recognize what you're feeling. It'll then find the right words for you to express your emotion to someone else. The cortex will also direct your body to move when actions need are needed to go along with the emotion. The Neocortex is the most recently evolved part of the brain and is what makes us different from other animals.

This explanation is easy to comprehend but remember, it is an extremely basic portrayal of what is the most complicated piece of nature in the universe!