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5 Tutorials that teach Central Nervous System and Peripheral Nervous System
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Central Nervous System and  Peripheral Nervous System

Central Nervous System and Peripheral Nervous System

Description:

This lesson will differentiate the Central Nervous System (CNS) from the Peripheral Nervous System (PNS). The functions of the brain and spinal cord within the Central Nervous System (CNS) will be discussed.

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Tutorial

What's Covered

The nervous system is the body's communication system. It sends information to and from the brain and allows it to control the rest of the body and the different things that it might be able to do.

The nervous system is divided into two basic parts:

  1. Central Nervous System
    1. Spinal Cord
  2. Peripheral Nervous System

1. CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM

The nervous system is the body's communication system. It sends information to and from the brain and allows it to control the rest of the body and the different things that it might be able to do. It's made up of individual neurons, which are the cells that transmit information within the nervous system.

The most important to the nervous system, is the central nervous system (CNS). This is the area of the body, which acts as the control center for the rest of the nervous system. It collect information from the rest of the body, everything outside of it. And then sends out information and causes the body's various responses.

The most recognizable part of the central nervous system is the brain. The brain is housed inside of your head and it's the central processing unit of the nervous system and the rest of the body.

Terms to Know

    • Nervous System
    • The body’s communication system, which sends information to and from the brain and allows it to control the rest of the body.
    • Central Nervous System
    • The control center of the nervous system, which collects information from the rest of the body and causes the body’s responses; contains the brain and spinal cord.

The CNS is where everything that we think of as being a person and being human is housed. All the things that involve their personality and mental states in thinking and deciding and planning, all those things are housed directly within the brain. So as you can tell, it's the most important thing in psychology, and really, the most important organ in your body.


1a. SPINAL CORD

The spinal cord is a thick bundle of neurons that connects directly to the brain and runs along your back. And that's where we have our vertebrae, which protect the spinal cord.

Hint

Think of the spinal cord an information superhighway. It conducts information to and from the brain to the rest of the body. So it's the sort of central, but also medial - - in the middle, allowing information to occur.


When the spinal cord is damaged, it can lead to paralysis of different parts of the body. Because since it acts as a conductor for all of this information, then if that part is damaged, then none of those messages can be sent to those parts of the body. The spinal cord also acts as a control for certain reflexes, which don't go directly to the brain, but rather just go to the spinal cord and cause a quick involuntary response by the body.

Terms to Know

    • Brain
    • Central processing unit located in the head, where all mental information about a person is kept and used to control the rest of the body.
    • Spinal Cord
    • A thick bundle of nerves that connects to the brain and acts as an “information superhighway”, conducting info to and from the brain along the back.

3. PERIPHERAL NERVOUS SYSTEM

Now as opposed to the central nervous system, the second part of our nervous system is the Peripheral Nervous System (PNS). This is including essentially the rest of the neurons that are within the body; so everything outside of the brain and spinal cord.

The peripheral nervous system acts to control muscles and to carry sensory information from the outside world. It also controls involuntary behaviors, like the functioning of our organs. So the peripheral nervous system tells your stomach when to digest and when to grumble, and that tells your heart how to beat.

Term to Know

    • Peripheral Nervous System
    • The neurons in the rest of the body outside of the brain and spinal cord, which control muscles, carry sensory information from the environment, and control involuntary actions.

ExampleThe PNS also controls involuntary reactions.  Sweating is a result of the PNS responding to the outside environment.


Summary

This lesson focused on the nervous system. It is broken into two types: Central Nervous System (CNS) and the Peripheral Nervous System (PNS). The central nervous system is comprised of the brain and spinal cord. The peripheral nervous system is the rest of the neurons outside the brain and spinal cord and acts to control involuntary reactions to the outside world.

Keep up the learning and have a great day!

Source: This work is adapted from Sophia author Erick Taggart.

TERMS TO KNOW
  • Nervous System

    The body’s communication system, which sends information to and from the brain and allows it to control the rest of the body.

  • Central Nervous System

    The control center of the nervous system, which collects information from the rest of the body and causes the body’s responses; contains the brain and spinal cord.

  • Brain

    Central processing unit located in the head, where all mental information about a person is kept and used to control the rest of the body.

  • Spinal Cord

    A thick bundle of nerves that connects to the brain and acts as an “information superhighway”, conducting info to and from the brain along the back.

  • Peripheral Nervous System

    The neurons in the rest of the body outside of the brain and spinal cord, which control muscles, carry sensory information from the environment, and control involuntary actions.