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Medicine LibreTexts

14.1: Objectives

After completing this section, you should know:

  • the role of the nervous system in coordinating an animal’s response to the environment
  • that the nervous system gathers, sorts and stores information and initiates movement
  • the basic structure and function of a neuron
  • the structure and function of a synapse and neurotransmitter chemicals
  • the nervous pathway known as a reflex with examples
  • that training can develop conditioned reflexes in animals
  • that the nervous system can be divided into the central and peripheral nervous systems
  • that the brain is surrounded by membranes called meninges
  • the basic parts of the brain and the function of the cerebral hemispheres, hypothalamus, pituitary, cerebellum and medulla oblongata
  • the structure and function of the spinal cord
  • that the peripheral nervous system consists of cranial and spinal nerves and the autonomic nervous system
  • that the autonomic nervous system consists of sympathetic and parasympathetic parts with different functions


  • Ruth Lawson (Otago Polytechnic; Dunedin, New Zealand)