3. "But when the flash flood crosses your path, when the lion leaps at you from the grasses, advanced self-awareness is an unaffordable indulgence. The brain stem does its best."
- Peter Watts, Blindsight
4. "the back and center part of our brains, containing the brain stem, cerebellum, and basal ganglia, are almost identical to the brains of reptiles. Known as the reptilian brain, these are the oldest structures of the brain, governing basic animal functions such as balance, breathing, digestion, heartbeat, and blood pressure. They also control behaviors such as fighting, hunting, mating, and territoriality, which are necessary for survival and reproduction. The reptilian brain can be traced back about 500 million years. (See Figure 3.)"
- Michio Kaku, The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand
5. "When your three-year-old erupts in anger because there are no orange Popsicles left in the freezer, his downstairs brain, including the brain stem and amygdala, has sprung into action and latched the baby gate. This primitive part of his brain has received an intense surge of energy, leaving him literally unable to act calmly and reasonably. Massive brain resources have rushed to his downstairs brain, leaving little to power his upstairs brain. As a result, no matter how many times you tell him that you have plenty of purple Popsicles (which he liked better than orange last time anyway), he’s probably not going to listen to reason in this moment."
- Daniel J. Siegel, The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind
6. "When Homer Wells saw the stationmaster’s brain stem exposed, he felt that Dr. Larch was busy enough – with both hands – for it to be safe to say what Homer wanted to say. ‘I love you,’ said Homer Wells. He knew he had to leave the room, then – while he could still see the door – and so he started to leave. ‘I love you too, Homer,’ said Wilbur Larch, who for another minute or more could not have seen a blood clot in the brain stem if there had been one to see. He heard Homer say ‘Right’ before he heard the door close. In a while, he could make out the brain stem clearly, there was no clot. ‘Arrhythmia,’ Wilbur Larch repeated to himself. Then he added, ‘Right,’ as if he were now speaking for Homer Wells. Dr. Larch put his instruments aside; he gripped the operating table for a long time."
- John Irving, The Cider House Rules
7. "The injured brain cannot heal itself. Now we know that the brain has amazing powers of healing, unsuspected in the past. The brain’s hardwiring cannot be changed. In fact, the line between hard and soft wiring is shifting all the time, and our ability to rewire our brains remains intact from birth to the end of life. Aging in the brain is inevitable and irreversible. To counter this outmoded belief, new techniques for keeping the brain youthful and retaining mental acuity are arising every day. The brain loses millions of cells a day, and lost brain cells cannot be replaced. In fact, the brain contains stem cells that are capable of maturing into new brain cells throughout life. How we lose or gain brain cells is a complex issue. Most of the findings are good news for everyone who is afraid of losing mental capacity as they age."
- Deepak Chopra, Super Brain: Unleashing the explosive power of your mind to maximize health
9. "So you really meant what you said to me yesterday?" Her voice rose. "I should find myself a nice wolf and settle down?" He fought off the rising incursions of dissonance, the razor blades sliding through his brain stem and traveling down his spine. "That would be rushing things."
- Nalini Singh, Caressed by Ice
10. "The brain stem, often called the reptile brain, controls automatic processes such as breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, etc. The cerebellum stores physical skills and fast behavioral reactions; it also contributes to dexterity, balance and coordination. The hypothalamus controls hormones and coordinates electrical and chemical elements of homeostasis. The amygdala processes information for emotional meaning. The neocortex, the most recently evolved layer of the brain, processes discursive thought, planning and voluntary movement. The insula (located on the far side and near the top of the illuminated brain regions) gathers information from the body and assembles it into a sense of our embodied existence."
- John M. Coates, The Hour Between Dog and Wolf: How Risk Taking Transforms Us