difference between reflex action and reflex arc

The Difference Between Reflex Action and Reflex Arc

Introduction

Reflexes are involuntary movements of the body that occur in response to a stimulus. When we touch something hot, our hand automatically pulls away from the heat source, without conscious thought. Reflexes occur due to the communication between our sensory receptors and motor neurons, and this communication occurs through a series of events known as the reflex arc.

Reflex Action

A reflex action is an involuntary response to a stimulus that is perceived by the sensory receptors of the body. These reflex actions are always automatic and occur without any conscious effort or thought. For instance, when we touch a hot object, the receptors in our skin send signals to the spinal cord. These signals are then sent to the muscles of the body, and the muscles contract, pulling our hand away from the heat source.

Reflex Arc

A reflex arc is a neural pathway that is involved in the process of a reflex action. This pathway is made up of five components: the receptor, the sensory neuron, the central nervous system, the motor neuron, and the effector. The receptor is the sensory organ that detects the stimulus, the sensory neuron carries the signal from the receptor to the spinal cord, the central nervous system processes the information, the motor neuron carries the signal from the spinal cord to the muscle, and the effector is the muscle that responds to the signal and produces the reflex action.

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Key Differences

The key difference between reflex action and reflex arc is that reflex action refers to the involuntary movement of the body in response to a stimulus, while reflex arc is the neural pathway that is involved in the process of a reflex action. Reflex action is an automatic response that occurs without conscious thought, while reflex arc involves the transmission of signals between different parts of the nervous system.

Conclusion

In conclusion, reflex action and reflex arc are closely related but distinct concepts. Knowing the difference between these two terms is important for understanding how the body responds to different stimuli. Reflexes are an essential component of our daily lives, and their proper functioning is crucial for maintaining our bodily functions.

Table difference between reflex action and reflex arc

Reflex Action Reflex Arc
Reflex action is an involuntary response to a stimulus that is necessary for survival. Reflex arc is the neural pathway that carries the sensory information to the central nervous system and the motor response to the effector organ.
In reflex action, the stimulus is received by a sensory neuron which sends an impulse to the spinal cord. In reflex arc, the sensory neuron synapses with a motor neuron in the spinal cord which sends an impulse to the effector organ.
Reflex action occurs immediately in response to the stimulus and does not involve conscious thought. Reflex arc is a physiological process that is responsible for reflex action and involves the spinal cord and the brain.
Reflex action is a simple response to a stimulus and does not involve decision making. Reflex arc can involve multiple neurons and can lead to more complex responses.
Examples of reflex action include blinking, coughing, and sneezing. Examples of reflex arc include the withdrawal reflex, knee-jerk reflex, and pupillary reflex.