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The reptilian complex, also known as the R-complex or "reptilian brain" was the name MacLean gave to the basal ganglia, structures derived from the floor of the forebrain during development. The term derives from the fact that comparative neuroanatomists once believed that the forebrains of reptiles and birds were dominated by these structures. MacLean contended that the reptilian complex was responsible for species typical instinctual behaviors involved in aggression, dominance, territoriality, and ritual displays.
* Reptilian Brain: This is the inner most layer of the brain (also called the "primitive brain") and has the responsibility of instinctive behavior. * Limbic System: The next layer is the limbic system (also know as the "smell brain"). The "smell brain" enables emotions and processes smell and taste. This layer adds emotions to otherwise instinctive behavior. * Cerebrum: The cerebrum is the third layer (also known as the "thinking brain"). This layer has the responsibility of processing and organizing complex sensory information so we can think, remember, plan and execute actions.