Anatomical Substrates Of Arousal

Behavioral arousal is caused by an interplay between the peripheral and central nervous systems. The central nervous system (CNS) evaluates external stimuli for meaning and initiates or modulates activity in the peripheral and central systems. Peripheral arousal is the result of activation of the autonomic nervous system, which affects internal organs directly and skeletal musculature indirectly. One of the main functions of the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system is to liberate adrenaline into the bloodstream. Adrenaline increases alertness and energy expenditure, which are then sensed by the CNS. Thus, peripheral and central arousal are interdependent contributors to the control of behavioral arousal.

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