Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Reticular Activating System

  • Randall E. MerchantEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_357

Synonyms

Reticular formation

Definition

The reticular activating system (RAS) denotes that part of the brainstem reticular formation that performs a crucial role in maintaining behavioral arousal, consciousness, and motivation.

Current Knowledge

The reticular activating system (RAS) denotes that part of the brainstem reticular formation that performs a crucial role in maintaining behavioral arousal, consciousness, and motivation. The RAS receives a wide range of inputs and projects as a diffusely organized neural complex extending from the core of the medulla oblongata through the subthalamus and thalamus. These cell groups send their axons to broad areas of the cerebral cortex with most terminating in the frontal lobe where they alert or activate the cerebral cortex as a whole. Once alerted, the conscious/perceptive part of the brain takes over, recognizes the source of the arousal, and addresses the problem. The reticular formation also gives rise to descending axons which pass to...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anatomy and NeurobiologyVirginia Commonwealth University Medical CenterRichmondUSA