The nervous system: a starter pack for beginners

Richard A. Armstrong

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputChapter


The human nervous system comprises the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves and is composed of several billion nerve cells or neurons. Specific populations of neurons, together with associated fibre tracts, are organized anatomically into pathways involved in sensory, motor, and cognitive function. A significant proportion of the brain carries out a sensory analysis of the world using information supplied from specialized receptors in skin, joints, ear, eye, nose, and tongue. This information is analyzed in primary sensory areas before being integrated into an image of the ‘state of the world’. This image is used in cognitive processing resulting in motor action and a behavioural response to incoming sensory data. This chapter provides a guide to the parts of the nervous system, the structure of sensory systems, and describes how this information is used in more complex brain functions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe neuroscience of cocaine: mechanisms and treatment
EditorsVictor Preedy
Place of PublicationLondon (UK)
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-12-803792-8
ISBN (Print)978-0-12-803750-8
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2017


  • nervous system
  • brain
  • anatomical pathway
  • neuron
  • sensory function
  • cognitive function
  • motor action


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