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Central Nervous System

  1. Roger E. Enfield

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0161

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Enfield, R. E. 2010. Central Nervous System. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–3.

Author Information

  1. West Central Georgia Regional Hospital, Columbus

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


The central nervous system (CNS) refers to the portion of the nervous system that lies within the skull and spinal column and receives nervous impulses from sense receptors throughout the organism, regulates bodily processes, and organizes and directs behavior. Anatomically, the CNS comprises the brain and spinal cord, which float within the cranial cavity of the skull and the vertebral canal of the spinal column in a liquid matrix called cerebrospinal fluid; this fluid also fills hollow space and serves as a protective cushion against damage. CNS tissue is further protected by three enfolding membranes called the meninges. The outer and toughest of the three, the dura mater, attaches to skull and spine, encasing the spongy arachnoid membrane within which the cerebrospinal fluid circulates. The soft pia mater is contiguous with the outer layer of brain and cord.


  • amnesia;
  • aphasia;
  • frontal lobes;
  • Korsakoff's syndrome;
  • cerebrum;
  • homeostasis;
  • hypothalamus;
  • limbic system;
  • neuroimaging;
  • neuropsychology;
  • organic psychoses;
  • reticular activating system