Home Nervous System Overview

Nervous System Overview

by Kevin Patton

Learning Outline

Nervous System Overview

The outline for the nervous system is very large, so I’ve split it into two parts:
Part 1 and Part 2.
Pretty easy to follow so far, eh?

Do the overview on this page first, then navigate to Nervous System 1
and then to Nervous System 2.

We will only very briefly touch on the senses.

Introduction to the nervous system

Primary functions




Human Nervous System

General organization


  • Central nervous system (CNS)
  • Peripheral nervous system (PNS)


  • Sensory nervous system
    • Somatic and special sensory nervous system
    • Visceral (autonomic) sensory nervous system

  • Motor nervous system
    • Somatic motor nervous system

    • Autonomic [motor] nervous system (ANS)
      • Sympathetic division
      • Parsympathetic division

lion trackExplore animations of the organization of the nervous system – click here (optional)

Gateway Arch photoThe reflex arc

Afferent pathway (afferent = toward)

  • Receptor — sensory mechanisim to receive stimulus


  • Receives sensory information and determines what (if any) response to make

Efferent pathway (efferent = away from)

  • Effector — muscle, gland, or other cell that receives motor output

lion trackExplore animations of the reflex arc (optional): animation 1 animation 2

This is a Learning Outline page.
Did you notice the EXTRA menu bar at the top of each Learning Outline page with extra helps?

Last updated: October 22, 2019 at 14:38 pm