The Structure And Function Of Sensory, Relay And Motor Neurons

March 10, 2021 - Paper 2 Psychology in Context | Biopsychology

Description, AO1:


The Structure and Function of Sensory, Relay and Motor Neurons

The nervous system is composed of specialised cells called neurons. The neurons form pathways in the brain and throughout the body by being connected to one another by synapses.


There are about 100 billion neurons or nerve cells in the average nervous system. Neurons vary in size and shape. The neurons are specialised for communication whether this is between other neurons or with other organs in the body such as the heart or stomach.

There are three main neurons, all of which have different roles to play Sensory, Relay and Motor Neuron.

Structure of Neuron
StructureWHAT IS IT?
Cell bodyThis includes a nucleus which contains the genetic material (chromosomes) of the cell. Surrounding the nucleus are other components that are essential for the functioning of the whole neuron. This is what gives the brain its grey colour (“grey matter”).
AxonThis is a long extension from the cell body and can be up to a meter in length. Usually has two or more branches, called collateral branches.
Myelin sheathThis insulates or protects the axon from external influences that might affect transmission of the nerve impulse. This is what gives the brain it’s white colour (“white matter”).
Terminal buttonSends signals to an adjacent cell (another neuron, a muscle cell etc). This is how information is passed between neurons through electrical impulses.
DendriteReceives nerve impulses or signals from adjacent neurons.This is how information is passed between neurons through electrical impulses.

The Three Main Types of Neurons

Motor Neuron
Sensory and Relay Neurons.jpg

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