What parts of our brain exist? Or how many brains do you think we have? Only one? More fingers? Actually … we have three brains! Yes, as you are reading. You can know the reasons in this article.
During the 1990s, many discoveries and investigations were carried out on the parts of our brain, which allowed to elucidate some of the greatest mysteries in this fascinating area. For this reason, it is known as the “decade of the brain”, a qualitative leap in scientific knowledge that changed some paradigms that until then were believed to be valid and indisputable.
Without a doubt, everything that has to do with the mind fascinates and amazes us alike. This is the reason why there is a great interest in knowing exactly how our mind works.
The different parts of our brain
One of the most important discoveries of the 1990s is what is called “the three brains.” It means that there are three areas in which we can divide our brain and this is due to the evolution of the human being.
The theory indicates that when a new zone grows, it adds to the previous one, therefore, it forms on top of the old one.
The most primitive parts of the human brain have been operating for thousands of years, but with some “updates”, as with the operating systems of computers or mobile phones. Along with the new ones, these old parts continue to operate in our brains without losing much of their role.
It is worth noting that the ancient areas of the mind are very similar to those of our “cousins” the orangutans, chimpanzees or gorillas, as well as to those of other species with which we share a very similar genetic part. However, human beings have an exclusive sector called the neocortex or neocortex.
The 3 brains, what is each one like?
We are going to better understand the three areas, zones or parts of our brain, those that were discovered in the 90s.
The most primitive part
Known among scientists as “reptilian brain” or “reptilian brain”. It takes care of the most basic instincts, those related to survival, such as the search for food, sexual desire, fights and the mechanism of fleeing from danger. This brain neither thinks nor feels emotions, it simply acts when the body asks it to. It is responsible for involuntary physiological functions, including: hormonal control and temperature, as well as hunger, thirst, respiration, etc.
Much of our behavior emanates from this area of our brain. It has been maintained through the centuries, to be more precise 200 million years ago. The reptilian brain contemplates the need to find a mate, have a home, choose our leaders, eat, and survive.
The middle part
Called the limbic system, the midbrain, or the emotional brain, it lies below the cerebral cortex and is made up of the brain amygdala, hippocampus, hypothalamus, and thalamus.
The feelings of all mammals are present in this region, especially those of aggression and fear. In the case of the human being, it is a center of affectivity, because it is there where each and every one of the emotions and feelings that we have are processed, from depression to joy, through anguish or pleasure.
In this sector, we must highlight the amygdala, fundamental because it has the ability, for example, to recognize by the expression on the face if someone is sad or happy.
Research has also shown that the amygdala alters social behavior and is the “reward center” that is most affected in people with addictions. Other studies have revealed that when the amygdala is in good condition we have the ability to learn and memorize.
The “newest” part of the brain
It is located above the medulla oblongata. The name given to this area is neocortex, neocortex or rational brain. Allows awareness and controls emotions. At the same time, it is involved in cognitive abilities such as: memorization, concentration, self-reflection, problem solving, etc. Evolution has made only humans and some mammals “intelligent” beyond impulse, instinct and emotions.
Thanks to the neocortex, we can think abstractly and in the future, understand relationships, develop a more complex emotional life and know that there is an “I” and an “other”.
The cerebral cortex in people has enveloped the other two, which is why we cannot always bring out our most instinctive or sentimental abilities, since the thinking brain does not allow it. Planning, organizing, foreseeing, imagining, being creative, and analyzing situations is thanks to this distinctively human brain sector.