The brain is a complex organ in the human body. It is responsible for all the functions from head to toe. It plays an important role in the controlling and processing of emotions. The reptilian brain is the brain’s oldest part.

Evolutionary development of the brain

Neuroscientist Paul MacLean’s evolutionary development of the brain is influential for understanding concepts of the brain briefly. The three types of brain development during evolution are, 

  • Reptilian brain
  • Limbic brain
  • Neocortex / cerebral cortex 

Reptilian brain

This is the oldest part of the brain developed 400 million years ago.  It is located at the top of the spinal cord and deep within the head. The main structures found here are the brain stem and cerebellum. The main function of this is heart rate, body temperature, blood pressure, breathing, and balance. 


The brainstem also contains nuclei that are important for sympathetic and parasympathetic autonomic functions. All efferent and afferent pathways between the cerebrum and the cerebellum pass through the brainstem, and many of them decussate, or cross, within this structure.

Limbic brain

The limbic brain is in charge of the limbic system in the body. It evolved around 250 million years ago, along with the first mammals. It can remember behaviors that resulted in agreeable and disagreeable experiences, so it is responsible for what humans call “emotions.” 

Neocortex / cerebral cortex 

This part of the brain is in charge of many processes, including initiating and controlling movement, thinking, emotion, problem-solving, and learning, as well as controlling speech, reading, and writing.


The cerebrum is the majority part of the human brain. It is divided into two halves, or hemispheres, known as the cerebral hemispheres. Cerebral areas control muscle functions as well as speech, thought, emotions, reading, writing, and learning.


The cerebellum is a major hindbrain structure located near the brainstem. This region of the brain is in charge of coordinating voluntary movements. It is also in charge of a variety of functions, including motor skills like balance, coordination, and posture.

When it comes to movement, the cerebellum is similar to a “mini-brain” and plays an important role in coordination, posture, and balance, as well as speech and a variety of important mental processes.

  • The cerebellum performs several important functions,
  • Posture and balance
  • Mental performance
  • Movement
  • Motor development
  • Vision

Primitive region of the brain function

Survival, drive, and instinct are all controlled by the primal brain (hindbrain and medulla). When your primal brain is active (sympathetic response), your modern brain is inactive.

The limbic system is the primary primitive brain network that underpins mood. It is a network of regions that collaborate to process and understand the world. Serotonin and dopamine, for example, are neurotransmitters that act as chemical messengers to send signals across the network.




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