The Triune Brain: As Explained By Katniss Everdeen

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This blog is written by Katniss “Katnip” Everdeen, hunter and bad-ass protagonist of the Hunger Game triology.  Katniss spends most of her days in the woods hunting to support her family in a post-apocalyptic era in North America.  She volunteered herself to be a tribute in an annual tradition in which children from the varying Districts are cast against each other in a battle to the death.  Katniss was kind enough to take the time to talk a little about the brain and love between training and planning for an uprising against the Capital.

A Guest Blog by Katniss Everdeen:

Ok, so you want to know about the triune brain?  You really think I have time for this?  I mean really, I’m running around the woods, trapping squirrels, making sure Peeta doesn’t kill himself, and worried that Prim isn’t starving back at home.  Oh, and did I mention, I’m stuck in a love triangle?  And you want me to explain the triune brain for you?

Hhhmmpp. Fine, I’m doing this only because Sirena asked me (I owe her BIG) and she thought that it would help you since you know, she’s going to be talking about the brain, and love and all in the next several weeks.

So here it goes.

You see, the brain is made up of 3 distinct areas.  Some doctor in the 1960’s, I think his name was Dr. MacLean or something argued that our brain has 3 subdivisions: the reptilian brain, the limbic brain and the neocortex.  I’m not great with explaining things, so I had Peeta draw a picture for you, since he’s the artist:

I can’t go into too much detail because I have to meet Haymitch in a few minutes to discuss the next Reaping…the drunken bastard better show up this time…anyways, let me explain the reptilian brain first.

The Reptilain Brain

This is the part of the brain that keeps us alive.  Its our  survival brain, the earliest form of our brain that is a continuation of our spinal cord.  If this part gets damaged, we’re dead.  That’s it.  Bye bye.

The reptilian brain is only concerned with survival, so remember the part when I found Peeta hidden in the ground (how he did that is crazy) and we had to find shelter?  Well, that was our reptilian brain at work.

This part of the brain is deeply nestled in the skull so that it stays protected.  Like I said, if this part of the brain is damaged, we’re done for.  It’s called the Reptilian Brain because its the only brain a reptile has.  And if you think of a reptile, its main concerns are pure survival.

Must.  Find.  Shelter.  Must.  Eat. Food.  Oh, and running through the woods from fire?  Reptilian brain.

I think you get the picture now.

The limbic brain is next.

The limbic brain is the next section of our brain, and which follows our evolution from survival to actually having feelings.  This is the part of the brain that is responsible for our emotions… happiness, sadness, fear, joy…and yes, love.  Ugh, don’t even get me started on love.

Reptiles don’t have limbic brains. Since reptiles pretty much lay their eggs and peace out, there is no need to connect with their offspring, and hence, no need for emotions (I wish this was the case for me sometimes).  Which explains why you’ll never see an alligator cry when one of it’s eggs get eaten, but you’ll see a lioness rip out your throat if you try to get near one of it’s cubs.

This is the part of the brain that explains why I love Prim so much.

And this part of the brain is why I fell in love with Peeta…and Gale.  However, when I had to kiss Peeta in the cave, my 3 brains were fighting against each other.  I wasn’t sure yet if I loved Peeta yet, but I knew I needed to kiss him in order to survive.  So in this case, my reptilian brain directed my emotions.  The 3 brains talk to each other so when there is a conflict, and it comes down to survival, the reptilian brain takes over.

It actually was a pretty good kiss I have to say….

And finally, we have the neocortex.

This is the outermost part of our brain and the newest one in our evolution.  This is the brain that we think of when we think of a brain, you know those squiggily lines.  Its also divided into the left brain and the right brain.  This is the section of the brain that thinks of plans, and ideas, and comes up with crazy physics equations.  It’s like the computer of our brain.

Basically, all the technology that the Capital used to build the arena was built with the neocortex.

All of the planning, plotting, and strategizing by Seneca and President Snow?  Yep, neocortex.

F’ing creepster…

Even though each part of the brain has its own characteristics, all three of them communicate with each other.  As Sirena explained in a blog a couple of weeks ago, the reptilian brain is all about survival.  She thinks that I couldn’t really fall in love with Peeta or Gale fully because I was always using my reptilian brain, always trying to survive, or something like. Well hell, I’d like to see her run around the woods, sleeping in trees and fearing for her life every waking second.

Anyways, I gotta go.  Haymitch is waiting for me, and I have to make sure he hasn’t burnt his house down or anything like that.  We’re prepping for the next Reaping, and I think Sirena mentioned something about having me back at some point to talk about why we fall in love with who we fall in love with, or whatever.

May the odds be forever, in….er, hell, you know the deal.

5 Responses

  1. My compliments, you have outlined it superbly. I am a psychologist from Italy and I have a group tonight focusing on emotions and the triune brain, I will use this post of yours, of cours I’ll give your credentials also. I was wondering if I can translate it into italian and publish on my blog, givong of course your reference. May I? Thank you and my compliments again for your fantasy! It would be nice to have the entire psychology explained through movies 🙂

    1. Hi Valentina – you are so welcome! I’m happy that you found this anecdote useful, and please use how you see fit.

      You can totally translate and publish on your blog, can you just send me the link?


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