Autonomic nervous system

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The autonomic nervous system
Blue = parasympathetic
Red = sympathetic

The autonomic nervous system (ANS) controls the conditions inside the body. It is sometimes called the 'visceral nervous system' or 'voluntary nervous system'. The ANS is part of the peripheral nervous system.

Most of its activities are done without the person having conscious control over them. The person usually cannot feel what the ANS is doing. However, some of the ANS's activities some work together with the conscious mind, like with breathing.

The ANS controls many different things, like heart rate, digestion, respiration rate, salivation, perspiration, diameter of the pupils, the discharge of urine, and erection.

There are two different sections within the ANS:

Other websites[change | edit source]

Further reading[change | edit source]

  • Michael D. Gershon 1998. The second brain. HarperCollins, New York.