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Chapter 13: Nervous System in Mammals

Students should be able to:

1. Outline the features of sensory neurons and relay neurons.

2. Discuss the function of the brain and spinal cord in producing a
coordinated response as a result of a specific stimulus (reflex

13.1 The Mammalian Nervous System

Nervous System
13.1.1 Components

Central Nervous System (CNS) Peripheral Nervous System (PNS)

Brain Spinal cord Cranial Nerves Spinal Nerves

13.1.2 The Motor Neurone • Transmit impulses

towards cell body • End of axon connection to the
• Fibres usually short muscle fibre
Motor end plate

Neurilemma • Transmit impulses

• Membrane that away from cell body
surrounds the myelin • Serve as • Fibres usually long
sheath insulating
• Provides nourishment layer
for the fibre 1
13.1.3 The Sensory Neurone

13.1.4 Relationship between the Sensory, Motor & Relay Neurones

A gap between 2
connecting neurones 
impulses cross synapse
by chemical means

13.2 The Mammalian Brain

13.2.1 Structure

Parts Components Structure Function
Forebrain Cerebrum (1) • Consists of 2 • Intelligence
hemispheres • Memory
• Largest part • Learning
of the brain • Overall control
• Surface of voluntary
enlarged with actions
deep grooves • Emotions
Hypothalamus • Is the floor of • Regulate body
(2) the cerebral temperature
hemisphere • Regulate blood
• Control
appetite, sleep
& emotions
Pituitary • A gland that is • Produces
gland (3) attached to hormones (e.g.
the ADH)
Midbrain (4) • Consists of • Control visual
optic lobes (4 reflexes (e.g.
small bodies) Movement of
Hindbrain Cerebellum • Large • Control
(5) • Surface muscular
thrown into coordination
many folds • Body balance
Medulla • Lies below • Controls
oblongata (6) cerebellum involuntary
actions such as
• Heartbeat
• Peristalsis
• Contraction /
dilation of blood

13.3 Spinal Cord & Spinal Nerves

13.3.1 Voluntary actions

• An action which involves the conscious control of the brain
• Journey of impulses
o Brain  Relay Neurone (spinal cord)  Effector (Muscles)

o Muscle thus contracts under conscious control / will of the

13.3.2 Reflex actions

• A rapid action which does not involve conscious control
• Journey of impulses
o Sensory receptors  Relay Neurone (spinal cord) 
Effector (Muscles)
o Muscle thus suddenly contracts without conscious control
/ will of the person
13.3.3 Spinal cord
• Coordinate simple reflex action
• Provides a pathway for nerve impulses
o Into the brain from receptor
o Out of the brain to effectors

13.3.4 The Reflex Arc

Dorsal Root

From sense organ

Eg. To muscles

Ventral Root
• Reflex Arc: The shortest pathway by which impulses travel from the
receptor to effector in a reflex action
• Consists of:
o Receptors  stimulated to generate impulse
o Receptor neurone + relay neurone (eg. spinal cord) + effector
o Effector (muscle or gland stimulated)
• Types of reflexes
o Spinal  controlled by spinal cord (e.g. knee jerk)
o Cranial  controlled by reflex centers in the brain (e.g eye
blinking reflex)



13.3.5 Conditioned Reflex Action

• Occurs as a result of past experiences of learning with a stimulus
that was originally not effective in producing a response