Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

2013 Edition
| Editors: Marc D. Gellman, J. Rick Turner

Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS)

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1005-9_822

Definition

The parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) is one of two main branches or subsystems of the autonomic nervous system (ANS). It originates in the brain stem and sacral spinal cord and commonly – but not always – yields peripheral adjustments that are complementary to those produced by its counterpart, the sympathetic nervous system (SNS).

Description

The parasympathetic nervous system is one of two main branches or subsystems of the autonomic nervous system, the physical system responsible for nonconsciously maintaining bodily homeostasis and coordinating bodily responses. Working with the second main branch, the sympathetic nervous system, the parasympathetic nervous system regulates a wide range of functions such as blood circulation, body temperature, respiration, and digestion. Parasympathetic activation commonly leads to adjustments on organs and glands that are complementary to those produced by sympathetic activation and suitable for low activity and bodily restoration...

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References and Readings

  1. Berne, R. M., Levy, M. N., Koeppen, B. M., & Stanton, B. A. (2004). Physiology (5th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Mosby.Google Scholar
  2. Cacioppo, J. T., & Tassinary, L. G. (1990). Principles of psychophysiology: Physical, social, and inferential elements. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Cacioppo, J. T., Tassinary, L. G., & Berntson, G. G. (2000). Handbook of psychophysiology (2nd ed.). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Ganong, W. F. (2005). Review of medical physiology (22nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  5. Levick, J. R. (2009). An introduction to cardiovascular physiology (5th ed.). London: Hodder.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland
  2. 2.College of Arts and Sciences, Department of PsychologyUniversity of North TexasDentonUSA