Psych M.D. - Parasympathetic Nervous System


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Term: parasympathetic nervous system
Definition (Myers): the division of the autonomic nervous system that calms the body, conserving its energy
Definition (alternative): a part of nervous system that slows the heart rate, increases intestinal and gland activity, and relaxes sphincter muscles. The parasympathetic nervous system together with the sympathetic nervous system (that accelerates the heart rate, constricts blood vessels, and raises blood pressure) constitute the autonomic nervous system.

Source: MedicineNet.com
Contextual explanation: As a division of the autonomic nervous system, the parasympathetic nervous system has a calming effect on the body. By bringing physical responses and changes regarding heart rate, blood pressure, size of pupils, etc., the parasympathetic nervous system pacifies intense responses to certain situations. The system works after the sympathetic division has produced its own effects. For example, if you were walking down the street and ran into a wild lion, your sympathetic system would arouse you and after you are safe from the lion, the parasympathetic nervous system will calm you down.
Related terms and concepts: autonomic nervous system, sympathetic nervous system
Psych M.D. - Parasympathetic Nervous System - The Neuron
Related websites:
http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/auto.html
http://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPages/P/PNS.html

http://www.nzmga.co.nz/Parasympathetic.html
http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4463
Edited by: Evelyn



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