Page 1 of 8 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 75

Thread: What is the primary function of the brain and nervous system?

  1. Top | #1
    Deus Meumque Jus
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    The North
    Posts
    9,769
    Archived
    9,514
    Total Posts
    19,283
    Rep Power
    47

    What is the primary function of the brain and nervous system?

    I've been wondering about this lately..

    - Can all the functions of the the brain and nervous system be generalized into one primary function?
    - If not, why not?
    - If so, what is that primary function?

    Your answers are much appreciated..

  2. Top | #2
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Riverside City
    Posts
    3,503
    Archived
    6,289
    Total Posts
    9,792
    Rep Power
    37
    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    I've been wondering about this lately..

    - Can all the functions of the the brain and nervous system be generalized into one primary function?
    - If not, why not?
    - If so, what is that primary function?

    Your answers are much appreciated..
    Define "primary function".

  3. Top | #3
    Member Peez's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Location
    Quebec, Canada
    Posts
    402
    Archived
    5,504
    Total Posts
    5,906
    Rep Power
    70
    Quote Originally Posted by Jokodo View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    I've been wondering about this lately..

    - Can all the functions of the the brain and nervous system be generalized into one primary function?
    - If not, why not?
    - If so, what is that primary function?

    Your answers are much appreciated..
    Define "primary function".
    That would be important, but I would hazard a guess for the OP:

    The coordination of the body in response to conditions for the purpose of maintaining homeostasis and reproduction.

    Peez

  4. Top | #4
    Contributor
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    seattle
    Posts
    5,769
    Rep Power
    14
    To allow us to enjoy procreation and ask dumb questions.

    From an evolutionary view it is about survival. We can figure out function bait IMO purpose implies an intentional design. There is no intent to evolution.

  5. Top | #5
    Veteran Member Treedbear's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    out on a limb
    Posts
    1,660
    Rep Power
    16
    Quote Originally Posted by Peez View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jokodo View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    I've been wondering about this lately..

    - Can all the functions of the the brain and nervous system be generalized into one primary function?
    - If not, why not?
    - If so, what is that primary function?

    Your answers are much appreciated..
    Define "primary function".
    That would be important, but I would hazard a guess for the OP:

    The coordination of the body in response to conditions for the purpose of maintaining homeostasis and reproduction.

    Peez
    I think that's correct. Primative organisms don't need a brain to respond to stimulus from the environment. But having a centralized nervous system allows conflicts between various functions to be coordinated to best advantage.

  6. Top | #6
    Contributor Speakpigeon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Paris, France, EU
    Posts
    6,314
    Archived
    3,662
    Total Posts
    9,976
    Rep Power
    47
    Quote Originally Posted by Treedbear View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Peez View Post
    That would be important, but I would hazard a guess for the OP:

    The coordination of the body in response to conditions for the purpose of maintaining homeostasis and reproduction.

    Peez
    I think that's correct. Primative organisms don't need a brain to respond to stimulus from the environment. But having a centralized nervous system allows conflicts between various functions to be coordinated to best advantage.
    Nah. Not general enough. Coordination of the body is good. I keep it. But, in effect, coordination of the body comes under something else more general... So, we can in fact dispense with it.

    But, hey, surely that a question for the scientists here!
    EB

  7. Top | #7
    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Chochenyo Territory, US
    Posts
    3,237
    Rep Power
    12
    I don't think "primary" function really means anything in this case. If an organ has multiple vital functions, and both the brain and the other components of the nervous system certainly do. there's no reason to distinguish between them in terms of importance. Would you try to decide whether structurally supporting the upper body or acting as conduit for the nervous system is the primary function of the spine? You're a few steps from death if it stops performing either one.

  8. Top | #8
    Veteran Member Treedbear's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    out on a limb
    Posts
    1,660
    Rep Power
    16
    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    I don't think "primary" function really means anything in this case. If an organ has multiple vital functions, and both the brain and the other components of the nervous system certainly do. there's no reason to distinguish between them in terms of importance. Would you try to decide whether structurally supporting the upper body or acting as conduit for the nervous system is the primary function of the spine? You're a few steps from death if it stops performing either one.
    Right. If rousseau is asking about a specific type of brain then the primary function is rather nebulous. That's why I looked at the more general concept of what a brain is and what basic functionality it provides. In that sense it's a region of concentrated nerve tissue that connects with various inputs and outputs of the organism's body. It seems the advantage there is to provide the opportunity for mediation between the various functions that might otherwise act in conflict with one another. That's the most basic functional advantage fullfilled by a brain.

  9. Top | #9
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    2,023
    Rep Power
    8
    The brain has multiple components that each have different primary functions. The brain stem's primary function is to regulate organ function. The frontal lobe's primary function is to generate mind... etc..

  10. Top | #10
    Contributor
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    seattle
    Posts
    5,769
    Rep Power
    14
    We are partly hard wired. Thohts are software, the brain hardware.


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autonomic_nervous_system

    The autonomic nervous system (ANS), formerly the vegetative nervous system, is a division of the peripheral nervous system that supplies smooth muscle and glands, and thus influences the function of internal organs.[1] The autonomic nervous system is a control system that acts largely unconsciously and regulates bodily functions such as the heart rate, digestion, respiratory rate, pupillary response, urination, and sexual arousal.[2] This system is the primary mechanism in control of the fight-or-flight response.

    Within the brain, the autonomic nervous system is regulated by the hypothalamus. Autonomic functions include control of respiration, cardiac regulation (the cardiac control center), vasomotor activity (the vasomotor center), and certain reflex actions such as coughing, sneezing, swallowing and vomiting. Those are then subdivided into other areas and are also linked to ANS subsystems and nervous systems external to the brain. The hypothalamus, just above the brain stem, acts as an integrator for autonomic functions, receiving ANS regulatory input from the limbic system to do so.[3]

    The autonomic nervous system has three branches: the sympathetic nervous system, the parasympathetic nervous system and the enteric nervous system.[4][5][6][7] Some textbooks do not include the enteric nervous system as part of this system.[8] The sympathetic nervous system is often considered the "fight or flight" system, while the parasympathetic nervous system is often considered the "rest and digest" or "feed and breed" system. In many cases, both of these systems have "opposite" actions where one system activates a physiological response and the other inhibits it. An older simplification of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems as "excitatory" and "inhibitory" was overturned due to the many exceptions found. A more modern characterization is that the sympathetic nervous system is a "quick response mobilizing system" and the parasympathetic is a "more slowly activated dampening system", but even this has exceptions, such as in sexual arousal and orgasm, wherein both play a role.[3]

    There are inhibitory and excitatory synapses between neurons. Relatively recently, a third subsystem of neurons that have been named non-noradrenergic, non-cholinergic transmitters (because they use nitric oxide as a neurotransmitter) have been described and found to be integral in autonomic function, in particular in the gut and the lungs.[9]

    Although the ANS is also known as the visceral nervous system, the ANS is only connected with the motor side.[10] Most autonomous functions are involuntary but they can often work in conjunction with the somatic nervous system which provides voluntary control.

Similar Threads

  1. Integer formula for transcendental function group
    By Kharakov in forum Mathematics
    Replies: 19
    Last Post: 05-16-2019, 02:28 AM
  2. DId Comb Jellies Evolve Nervous Systems Separately?
    By lpetrich in forum Natural Science
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 02-21-2019, 07:06 AM
  3. Probability as a function of knowledge or of coincidence?
    By PyramidHead in forum Other Philosophical Discussions
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 06-08-2018, 12:10 PM
  4. Replies: 9
    Last Post: 01-16-2018, 09:16 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •