Nervous System - Western Oregon University

Nervous System - Western Oregon University

Nervous System and Senses Neural Activity The Neuron Which direction does a signal travel down a neuron?

What do you think a signal is? How do you think the neuron controls where the signal goes next? Electrical Events An action potential

is an all or nothing event. A neuron either sends a signal or it doesnt. Relative strength or weakness of a signal come from frequency, not size

of the potential. Resting potential Using active transport, the neuron moves N+ ions to the outside of the cell and K+ ions to the inside

of the cell. Large molecules in the cell maintain a negative charge. Action potential On receiving a stimulus, sodium

gates and potassium channels open briefly, allowing these ions to diffuse. The gates close, and active transport restores the resting potential.

Traveling Potentials Traveling Potentials Synapse A gap called a synapse controls the transmission of signals.

Neurotransmitter s cross the synapse and stimulate the next neuron. Information Processing

Why a CNS? Neurons control movement. The brain (or spine) interprets sensory signals and determines the appropriate movements (that is, behavior). Appropriate movement is critical to the survival of most animal species. Selection has favored a central

nervous system to control responses. Four basic operations Determine type of stimulus Signal the intensity of a stimulus Integrate responses from many sources Initiate and direct operations

Type of stimulus How does the brain know if a sensory signal is visual, auditory, etc.? Areas of the brain dedicated to specific sensory signals are connected to nerves that connect to specific sensory organs. Cross-sensory effects: a poke in the eye produces stimulates the optic

nerve, producing visual effects. Intensity of stimulus Intensity = frequency of action potentials

Integration of stimuli Convergence = Signals may arrive through many neurons, but may all pass their signal to a single connecting neuron. Such cells may be decisionmaking association neurons that may determine an appropriate output.

Directing operations Neural pathways consist of: Sensory neurons Association neurons, which receive signals from many sources Motor neurons Effectors: muscles, glands

Reflexes The simplest neural pathway is the reflex arc. This involves one or more sensory neurons, association neurons in the spine, and motor neurons, which carry out the reflex entirely before the brain is aware of the response.

Reflex Arc Organization Neural organization Central Nervous System Consists of brain and spine Functions:

Receives sensory signals and determines appropriate response Stores memory Carries out thought Spine: structure The spinal cord is protected by the

vertebrae. Gray matter contains cell bodies; white matter contains myelinated fibers. PNS nerves extend outside of the vertebrae.

Brain: Structure Hindbrain carries out the most basic functions. Midbrain coordinates signals. Forebrain

processes signals, stores memories, creates thought. Peripheral nervous system Nerves, neurons, and sensory organs outside the central nervous system Functions:

Sends signals to the CNS Receives and transmits motor signals from the CNS Stimulates effectors Somatic nervous system Motor neurons that control voluntary movements by

activating skeletal muscles. Also involved in what we perceive as involuntary movements, such as reflexes (though voluntary control of the muscles involved, such as tensing them, can reduce the response).

Autonomic Nervous System Motor neurons that control involuntary responses involving the organs, glands, and smooth

muscles. Sympathetic division Portion of the autonomic nervous system that produces the fight or flight response: Dilation of pupils Increased heart and

breathing rates Constriction of blood vessels Inhibits digestion Parasympathetic Division Portion of the autonomic nervous system that produces the rest and

ruminate response: Constricts pupils Dilates blood vessels Reduces heart and breathing rates. Stimulates digestion.

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