Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Human Brain

In a conversation with a friend of mine, she told me about the three levels of the human brain. I was fascinated by it. She sent me some things and I went to the all knowing google to read some more about it.

So basically, the human brain consists of 3 layers:


  • The Reptilian Complex - This is the most fascinating of the 3 layers to me. The reptilian brain is also called the Lizard brain and likened to reptiles. It is the first and earliest brain to form. If a child does not receive a lot of love and security growing up, this will be the brain they will use most often and always  default to it. This part of the brain is the one that deals with basic survival, instinctive and reproductive functions. These are also known as the 4 F's. The 4 F's are - Feeding and Fucking, Fight or Flight. People who operate mostly on this brain are very defensive. When operating in that brain level, the frontal lobes which is the thinking brain that process and analyze shut down. These people can be very nice and still have no empathy. eg you could be crying and upset but they remain defensive and cannot process any emotion that isn't theirs. They either defend or attack. In summary, the overriding qualities of these kind of people are they are automatic, obsessive, compulsive, have ritualistic qualities and are highly resistant to change. This layer is very active and remains so even in deep sleep.

  • The Limbistic System - This is the second layer of the brain to develop and is a more complex brain. This part of the brain deals with a higher F, which stands for Feelings. This layer associates a lot of events with memory. It is the part of the brain responsible for converting information into memory. Repeated use of it enhances memory storage and memory recall as needed. This layer links emotion with behavior and comes into play in situations that arouse feelings such as fear, pity, anger or outrage. People that use this brain more often generate more nuanced, variable and flexible behavior which leads to them learning. They classify everything as agreeable or disagreeable and pursue a policy of avoiding pain and pursuing pleasure.

  • The Neo Cortex - This is the most recently developed brain also known as the human layer and is sometimes called the level of philosophers, scientists and mathematicians It's where the thinking and computer part of our brain resides. This is what makes language, speech and writing possible. This part of the brain is usually hijacked bu the Limbistic system and therefore reason is put to the service of emotions rather than vice versa. Interestingly, in times of great stress or sexual excitement the reptilian brain takes over and we operate at the most basic instinctive level.
That's the basic summary of the three layers of brain. It all sounds so contradictory which kinda explains why we humans can be self contradictory.  The Reptilian and Limbistic are the older brains and can't speak, they can only feel and act. I found two examples that I thought were interesting.

Example 1

Have you ever wondered why you reach for that pile of hot greasy fries while you tell yourself you are on a diet? It's because you have three brains and the older brains were wired to put on weight long ago when food was scarce while your old brains are not easily controlled by your fancy new brain that reads diet books. (This makes sense because I often say that our generation will try to justify and over intellectualize the simplest of concepts. Someone can tell you, I hate you and we will still be there trying to find ways the person loves you)

Example 2

A man cheats. He is married and loves his wife but feels lust for another woman. He cheats on his wife with another woman. In the aftermath of his rendezvous, he can simultaneously enjoy satisfied lust, feel sad because of his disloyalty and come up with a justification for his conduct. Interesting, no? and hey people, this is not an excuse to go cheating.


Anyways, I'll stop now. This might have been the longest post ever to get together, so hope it makes sense to you guys. What do you guys think?



*I got a lot of info from so many sites that I cannot list them all so I'll put a disclaimer here that if anyone finds their work on here then thank you and I give you full credit. I did however put it all together to make some type of sense.


Have a great day people.






2 comments:

Busola said...

the second layer is actually called the limbic system. I know, I know, I'm doing oversabi here. #neurosciencemajorproblems
I love your blog and I shall follow!!
tellmewhenyoufindme.blogspot.com

Ada said...

you should read this book. "INCOGNITO the secret lives of the brain" by David Eagleman, If you like this type of stuff.
Its like a neuroscience book broken down in layman's terms with very fascinating information of how our brain works and the plethora of uknowns that are still a mystrey. I have read that book twice already.lol