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Nervous System Overview

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