Fundamentals of Neuroscience/Classification of the Nervous System

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Type classification: this is a lesson resource.

Goals[edit | edit source]

A comprehensive diagram of the Nervous System
A comprehensive diagram of the Nervous System
  • To learn about how the nervous system is divided
  • To learn the functions and responsibilities of each division
  • To learn how the sections of the nervous system interact with each other

Primary Divisions[edit | edit source]

  • The central nervous system (CNS) consists of the brain and spinal cord and has the greatest diversity of functions, ranging from thought to perception
  • The peripheral nervous system (PNS) consists of all the neural cells located outside the brain and spinal cord, and primarily sends sensory signals to the CNS and receives motor signals from the CNS. The PNS can be divided itself into two groups:

Sympathetic vs. Parasympathetic[edit | edit source]

  • The autonomic nervous system itself can be divided into the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems:
    • The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for rest and digest functions including:
      • Lowering breathing rate
      • Slowing down heart
      • Encouraging the secretion of stomach enzymes
    • The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for fight or flight functions, including
      • Raising breathing rate
      • Speeding up heart
      • Stopping the secretion of stomach enzymes
  • These two divisions work antagonistically, and must be balanced to preserve homeostasis

Exercises[edit | edit source]

  • Identify the portion of the Nervous System most involved in the following functions:
    1. Feeling that ice cream is cold
    2. Contemplating why ice cream feels cold
    3. Kick generated from a doctor hitting below the knee
    4. Kick generated by a professional kickboxer in a match
    5. Eyes dilating from an approaching bear
  • Sensory (Afferent)
  • Central
  • Motor (Efferent)
  • Somatic
  • Sympathetic