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Reflex Arcs

SNAB Topic 8 Grey Matter
Lesson 3

Learning Objectives
 Describe

the path of nerve impulses in
reflex arcs
 Describe the pupil reflex
 Explain the process by which the pupil
reflex is controlled

Key Notes

Interesting Facts


Reflex Actions  Many of the actions we carry out every day are done without conscious thought  These are call Reflex Actions  The nerve impulses in reflex actions do not follow the same path as those in conscious actions  The path they follow is called the Reflex Arc .

GCSE Review Question  What neuron is unique to the Reflex Arc? A. B. D. Effector Motor Relay Sensory . C.

Examples of Reflex Arcs  Knee Jerk Reaction – Involved in keeping standing  Pupil Dilation – Protect eyes from light  Vomit Reflex  Cough Reflex  Sneeze Reflex  Eye tracking Reflex .

Nervous Impulse Pathway in a Reflex Arc .

Interlink/Relay Neurons  These neurons are the vital part of the reflex arc  They connect the Sensory neuron to the Motor/Effector neuron  They can be found in the grey matter of the spinal cord and in the midbrain .

a hot object.Advantage of Reflexes  The reflex arc allows a much quicker response to stimuli  This is especially important where the stimuli is a source of potential damage e. a sharp pin .g.

Cannabis) .Inhibition of the Reflex Response  The reflex response is considerably inhibited in several situations:  Exposure to Noradrenalin (Parasympathetic nervous system)  Tiredness  High Blood Alcohol  Effect from Sedative Drugs (e.g.

Beta Amphetamines/Speed) .Stimulation of the Reflex Response  The speed of the reflex response can be increase by several factors:  Exposure to adrenaline (Sympathetic Nervous System)  Exposure to stimulant drugs (Caffeine.

 … and protect the retina from “overexposure” .The Pupil Reflex Response  The pupil response allows the iris to contract and dilate  This changes the size of the pupil  In the eye the pupil acts like an aperture  It controls the amount of light which enters the eye..

Bright Light. Bright Light  When light levels are high Circular muscles in the iris contract  This causes the pupil to become smaller  This is controlled by the parasympathetic nervous system .

In the Dark…  When light levels are low Radial muscles contract  This causes the pupil to increase in size  This is caused by the sympathetic nervous system .

Diagram of Pupil Response .

Control of the Pupil Reflex: In Detail  When high levels of light strike photoreceptors in the retina they cause nervous impulses to be sent along the Sensory neuron (Optic Nerve)  These impulses are co-ordinated by relay neurons in the Midbrain  Signals are then sent along the parasympathetic nervous system .

Diagram of the Pupil Reflex Arc . id=-4513396283977692296&q=pupil  docid=-2586168005397990196&q=pupil  Dilation Videos  docid=6096473483443032157&q=pupil+reflex .google.

Atropine  Atropine is a sedative drug made from the deadly nightshade plant (Atropa belladonna)  It was apparently used in the middles ages by women to dilate there pupils  This is the source of the word belladonna in Latin and Belle in French .

Check Point  What muscle contracts when the pupil dilates? A. D. C. Optic Radial Ocular Motor Circular . B.

B.Check Point  What nervous system is involved in pupil contraction? A. C. Somatic Sympathetic Central Parasympathetic . D.

Correct! .

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