Human Biology (Year 12)
What is a reflex?
A reflex is an automatic response to changes in the external and/or internal environment. Some reflexes involve the unconscious part of the brain, however most are coordinated by the spinal cord. A spinal reflex does not involve the brain; the brain may become aware of what is happening, but it does not become aware until after the response has been initiated. Reflexes have four common properties:
A stimulus is required to trigger a reflex; it is not spontaneous
A reflex is involuntary; it occurs without any conscious thought
A reflex response is rapid; only a small number of neurons are involved
A reflex is stereotyped; it occurs in the same way each time it happens
What is a reflex arc?
A reflex arc is the pathway which a nerve impulse follows in travelling from a receptor to an effector. The basic elements of a reflex arc includes (in the following order);
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