Q:

Why is a reflex arc important?

A:

The BBC describes a reflex arc as the nerve pathway through which neural impulses travel to cause a quick autonomic response known as a reflex. Reflexes are not something people think about, rather, they are impulsive reactions to stimuli.

An example illustrated by class notes from Rutgers University explains that when a person touches a flame or hot surface with his hand, his immediate reaction is to remove his hand from the heat to prevent getting burned. This decision, or reflex, is not a conscious one. In general, there are five parts of a reflex: receptor, the sense organ, such as skin muscle or another organ; sensory neuron, which is in charge of carrying the neural message to the central nervous system; interneuron, which carries the message within the central nervous system; motor neuron, which carries the impulse away from the central nervous system; and effector, the structure that reacts and exhibits a response.

According to Rutgers University, the reflex response can be more involved. For example, if a person steps on a sharp object, the reflex is to lift his foot off the object. There is also the stabilization of the other leg as he lifts his foot off the ground. This means this type of reflex response involves some consciousness.

Learn More

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is a reflex action?

    A:

    The Universal College of Learning defines reflex action as a rapid involuntary or automatic reaction to a specific situation or stimulus. Autonomic reflex actions are those that involve the autonomic nervous system, cardiac muscle, smooth muscle and glands, while somatic reflex actions involve the somatic nervous system and skeletal muscles. The impulses that produce a reflex action are transmitted within a nervous circuit called a reflex arc.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is an example of a contralateral reflex?

    A:

    An example of a contralateral reflex would be when someone steps on a nail. Once their foot comes into contact with the nail, they put their weight down on the other leg and pull the other one back as a reflex.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is an example of a reflex action?

    A:

    A reflex action occurs when the body responds to a stimulus without the involvement of the brain. Batting of eyelids and rapid withdrawal of hands from a hot surface are examples of reflex actions. The contraction of the pupils of the eyes when exposed to bright light is a perfect example of a reflex action.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the function of the optic nerve?

    A:

    The optic nerve, also called cranial nerve II or the second cranial nerve, is responsible for carrying images from the eyes to the brain. The transfer of visual information begins in the retina and travels to the brain's visual centers with the help of electrical impulses.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore