The human brain is immense and complex. It contains some one hundred billion neurons, which are capable of electrical and chemical communication with tens of thousands of other nerve cells. Nerve cells in turn rely on some quadrillion (1015) synaptic connections for their communications.
Anatomically, the brain can be divided into three parts: the forebrain, midbrain, and hindbrain; the forebrain includes the several lobes of the cerebral cortex that control higher functions, while the mid- and hindbrain are more involved with unconscious, autonomic functions. During encephalization, human brain mass increased beyond that of other species relative to body mass. This process was especially pronounced in the neocortex, a section of the brain involved with language and consciousness. The neocortex accounts for about 76% of the mass of the human brain; with a neocortex much larger than other animals, humans enjoy unique mental capacities despite having a neuroarchitecture similar to that of more primitive species. Basic systems that alert humans to stimuli, sense events in the environment, and maintain homeostasis are similar to those of basic vertebrates. Human consciousness is founded upon the extended capacity of the modern neocortex, as well as the greatly developed structures of the brain stem.