Explore Courses

Exploring the Triune Brain Model: IELTS Reading Passage With Questions & Answers

Updated on 08 February, 2024

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad abroad Editorial Team


The IELTS Reading Test demands a strong grasp of various subjects, and understanding complex scientific theories can be particularly challenging. The triune brain model, a concept in neurology, is a fascinating topic that integrates biology, psychology, and evolution. This passage will explore the triune brain theory, preparing learners for questions they might encounter in their IELTS reading exam.


The human brain, a marvel of evolution and complexity, has been a subject of fascination and study for centuries. One theory that has captured the attention of neuroscientists and psychologists alike is the triune brain model. Proposed by American physician and neuroscientist Paul D. MacLean, the model suggests that the human brain is structured in three parts, each correlating to a distinct evolutionary stage.

The first component, known as the reptilian brain or the basal ganglia, is the oldest part evolutionarily and manages the most basic survival functions, such as heart rate, breathing, and balance. This primal brain is responsible for our instinctual behaviors and reactions.

Ascending from the depths of primal instinct is the paleomammalian brain, commonly referred to as the limbic system. This part of the brain processes emotions and memory, playing a significant role in the behavior and decision-making processes that are affected by our feelings.

The last to develop in our evolutionary history is the neomammalian brain, consisting mainly of the neocortex, a hub of higher-order thinking skills. It enables humans to engage in complex cognitive tasks, such as abstract thought, planning, and language.

Though the triune brain model has been influential, it is important to note that it is a simplified explanation of brain activity and that the interactions between these three parts are more dynamic and interconnected than originally proposed.

Questions & Answers:

Q1: According to the triune brain model, what is the function of the reptilian brain?

A. Emotion processing

B. Higher-order thinking

C. Basic survival functions

D. Language development

A1: C. Basic survival functions

Explanation: The reptilian brain, or basal ganglia, is responsible for managing fundamental survival functions such as heart rate and breathing, which are instinctual in nature.

Q2: Fill in the blank: The limbic system is also known as the ____________ brain.

A2: paleomammalian

Explanation: The limbic system is equated with the paleomammalian brain in MacLean's triune brain model, emphasizing its role in processing emotions and memory.

Q3: True or False: The neocortex is involved in processing basic survival functions.

A3: False

Explanation: The neocortex is part of the neomammalian brain, which deals with higher-order thinking skills, not basic survival functions.

Q4: Which part of the triune brain is most associated with abstract thought?

A. Reptilian brain

B. Limbic system

C. Neocortex

D. Basal ganglia

A4: C. Neocortex

Explanation: The neocortex is an area of the brain within the neomammalian complex that is linked to higher cognitive functions, including abstract thinking.

Q5: Fill in the blank: Paul D. MacLean proposed the ____________ brain model.

A5: triune

Explanation: Paul D. MacLean is known for proposing the triune brain model, which outlines three distinct brain structures corresponding to different evolutionary stages.

Q6: True or False: The triune brain model suggests that each part of the brain operates independently without interaction.

A6: False

Explanation: Although the triune brain model outlines three distinct brain components, modern neuroscience recognizes that these parts interact dynamically rather than functioning independently.

Q7: Which brain component is responsible for instinctual behaviors according to the model?

A. Neocortex

B. Limbic system

C. Basal ganglia

D. Reptilian brain

A7: D. Reptilian brain

Explanation: The reptilian brain, or basal ganglia, governs instinctual behaviors and automatic survival functions.

Q8: Fill in the blank: The ____________ is crucial for behaviors affected by emotions.

A8: limbic system

Explanation: The limbic system, or paleomammalian brain, is central to emotional processing, influencing behaviors and decisions based on feelings.

Q9: True or False: Language development is attributed to the reptilian brain.

A9: False

Explanation: Language development is a function of the neocortex in the neomammalian brain, not the reptilian brain.

Q10: What is a key characteristic of the neomammalian brain?

A. It processes instinctual behavior.

B. It enables complex cognitive tasks.

C. It is responsible for automatic survival functions.

D. It is the oldest part of the brain evolutionarily.

A10: B. It enables complex cognitive tasks.

Explanation: The neomammalian brain, particularly the neocortex, is involved in complex cognitive functions, distinguishing humans with abilities like abstract reasoning and planning.

Tips for Cracking the IELTS Reading Exam:

Tip 1: Familiarize yourself with scientific terminology, as passages often discuss technical or academic subjects.

Tip 2: Pay attention to detail. The IELTS reading passages may include nuanced information that can be crucial for answering questions correctly.

Tip 3: Practice skimming and scanning techniques to quickly locate key information within the passage.

Tip 4: Develop the ability to differentiate between main ideas and supporting details, which will assist in answering comprehension questions more effectively.

Tip 5: Improve your paraphrasing skills. Often, the information required to answer questions is presented using different wording in the text.

Download E-Books for IELTS Preparation

ielts sample essays

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad abroad Editorial Team

We are a dedicated team of study-abroad experts, ensuring intensive research and comprehensive information in each of our blogs. With every piece written, we aim at simplifying the overseas education process for all. Our diverse experience as journalists, content writers, editors, content strategists, and marketers helps create the most relevant and authentic blogs for our readers.

See More

Refer Your Friend & Earn upto ₹15000

Help your friend upgrade to a Global Career and earn rewards together.


The above tips are the Author's experiences. upGrad does not guarantee scores or admissions.