Peripheral Nervous System Flashcards, test questions and answers
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What is Peripheral Nervous System?
The Peripheral Nervous System (PNS) is an extensive network of nerves that connects the brain and spinal cord to all other parts of the body. It is composed of two main components: the somatic nervous system and the autonomic nervous system. The somatic nervous system is responsible for controlling voluntary movements such as walking, talking, and writing. The autonomic nervous system regulates involuntary functions such as heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, and respiration. Together these two components help regulate homeostasis in the body. The PNS consists of 12 pairs of cranial nerves which originate from the brain stem and 31 pairs of spinal nerves which originate from the spinal cord. These nerves are divided into afferent or sensory nerves that detect stimuli in the environment or within our bodies; they then transmit this information to our brains where it is processed. Efferent or motor neurons then take signals from our brains back to our muscles and organs causing them to contract or relax depending on what response we need to give any given stimulus. The PNS also plays a role in regulating our emotions by sending signals between different areas within our brains such as those involved with emotion processing, memory formation, learning processes etc., allowing us to make decisions based on how we feel about certain situations or events. In addition, it enables us to communicate with others through facial expressions and vocalizations by connecting muscles in the face and throat with related areas in the brainstem via its nerve fibers. Overall, without proper functioning of peripheral nervous system many bodily functions would be disrupted resulting in health problems like paralysis or loss of sensation among others; thus making it one of most important systems for us humans.