Login with Facebook

Guide on the Pathways of the nervous system

Depending on the type of movement, numerous cortical and subcortical structures are directly or indirectly involved in motor skills. In principle, a distinction is made between two systems:

- The pyramidal (PS) and

- The extrapyramidal system (EPS).

Both terms are historical. The pyramidal tract (corticospinal tract) is not a uniform motor tract, but a collection of different descending systems with a common course. The extrapyramidal system, on the other hand, is a collective term for various structures of the central nervous system.

The pyramidal tract is mainly responsible for voluntary motor skills, while the extrapyramidal structures are mainly involved in non-voluntary movements.

However, since the two systems also influence each other and are therefore involved in both types of movement, a strict subdivision is outdated.

A small core area that is functionally involved in all aspects of motor skills is the nucleus rubber (red nucleus). It is often assigned to the extrapyramidal motor skills but actually represents a separate entity.

Functional subdivision

With regard to function, a distinction is made between four types of motor activity:

- Support and holding motor skills

- Voluntary motor skills

- spinal reflexes

- cortical and subcortical reflexes

A large number of brain areas, including the higher functions of the cortex, are involved in performing voluntary motor movements. Only the support and holding motor skills, however, do not require a higher function. Spinal and subcortical reflexes are performed by areas located in the telencephalon and mesencephalon as well as the brain stem.

Modulating influences from the structures of the cerebrum are very small. Voluntary, supporting and holding motor skills do not work in isolation from one another; rather, they complement, modulate and influence each other.

Over fifty different core areas or parts of the brain are involved in human motor skills. Since it is not possible to represent them completely and in a single contribution, models are used. These often either represent the overall context in a simplified manner, or they only show a single (or a few linked) chains of neurons in detail. In the following, models are used, each of which particularly emphasizes a single aspect or a connection.

Spinal reflexes do not count as motor skills in the narrower sense, since they are interconnected at the spinal cord level and physiologically take place without the direct involvement of the brain. They are also not part of the motor skills cortical and subcortical reflexes, which include the sneeze and gag reflex, as well as a variety of other reflexes. These are partly protective mechanisms or phylogenetic holdovers.

Movement intention

Movements are only carried out under physiological conditions if they do not lead to an injury to the organism. In the first place is the purely mechanical component, if the movement is not possible, for example, because a bone inhibition is in the way (e.g. touching the back of the head with the big toe), it is not carried out.

Furthermore, movements are not carried out if they lead directly to damage to the organism (e.g. cutting open the arteries on the wrist). Since humans essentially have free will, these natural protective mechanisms can be "overwritten". It is, therefore, possible to voluntarily control the muscle groups to perform the two movements (acrobatic bending of the body and self-harm).

Three systems or areas are significantly involved:

- Amygdala (almond kernel),

- limbic system and

- Nucleus accumbens.

All three are responsible for motivation with different functional focuses. The amygdala is involved in the motivation of actions related to fear, the Ncl. accumbens to those that are influenced by reward mechanisms and the prefrontal cortex controls the conscious planning of actions (voluntary actions).

Amygdala and Nucleus accumbens are in a lively exchange with the transmitter systems, which have a modulating effect on them and the rest of the central nervous system. The four major transmitters are dopamine, serotonin, acetylcholine, and norepinephrine. They are significantly influenced by external influences and complex cognitive functions ("thinking").

Support and holding motor skills

Functionally, the beginning of a movement is the determination of the current position of the body and the extremities in space. This information is used to weigh up whether a movement is feasible and harmless to the organism. The basis for this is proprioception in connection with information from sensory systems (eye, vestibular organ). Information that carries epicritic and protopathic fibers is also incorporated.

The focus is on the following fiber connections:

Peripheral signals reach the cerebellum at the inferior cerebellar peduncle via the spinocerebellar tract and the cuneocerebellar tract (epicritic impulses). In addition, there are fibers from the lower olive, which arrive via the olivocerebellar tract. They contain projections from the cortex and the central tegmental tract (central hood).

Furthermore, fibers from spinothalamic tracts, trigeminal nuclei and the arcuate nucleus are added. Vestibular fibers enter the cerebellum via the vestibulocerebellar tract.

Fibers travel to the pons from the cortex, frontal lobe, and temporal lobe. From there they run into the cerebellum via the pedunculus cerebellaris medius. Projections of proprioceptive fibers in the anterior spinocerebellar tract enter the cerebellum via the superior cerebellar peduncle.

All the fibers and pathways mentioned that go into the cerebellum provide it with various information about the position of the body in space. They are processed in the cerebellum and switched to efferent neurons. Most of the efferents, which mainly originate from the nucleus fastigii and the nucleus globosus, leave the cerebellum via the pedunculus cerebellaris superior.

Your projections end in the reticular formation of the pons, where they are switched and reach the spinal cord via the reticulospinal tract. The second supply of fibers to the spinal cord occurs via the vestibulospinal tract. Projections from the cerebellum itself run via the cerebellovestibular tract to the vestibular nuclei. From there, they reach the spinal cord via the vestibulospinal tract.

Fiber tracts terminate directly at α and γ motor neurons as well as spinal interneurons. Their predominant effect is the activation of inhibiting interneurons, which act on the flexor muscles and the excitation of α- and γ-motor neurons of the extensors. Impulses that are delivered via the rubrospinal or reticulospinal tract have an antagonistic effect. Extensors are inhibited and α- and γ-motor neurons of the flexors are activated. The fibers from the reticular formation come from their medullary part. Both fibers enter the spinal cord with the reticulospinal tract.

The supporting and holding motor skills, therefore, mean that the body can constantly maintain its balance by recording and comparing information from peripheral sensitive and sensory systems and activating the skeletal muscles necessary for balancing or inhibiting their antagonists.

This type of motor skills does not require any conscious perception unless the balancing itself is part of conscious activity (e.g. a wire rope dancer). But even then - in addition to the conscious action - motor corrections are carried out automatically.

Motor learning

It is possible to optimize the motor system through repetitions (motor learning). Example: The ability to hit a ball or to perform complex moves in a martial art without looking at the ball or the opponent is justified by learning processes.

Seen from the outside, it seems to be a matter of "reflexes" that make a person act very quickly and purposefully - but this is not functionally correct.

Rather, it is a question of movement patterns that have been repeated very often and thus learned. As a result, a kind of "copy" in the neuronal circuits of the cerebellum is kept ready for retrieval more quickly. The basis is switching from the pyramidal tract to the rubrospinal tract.

These movements assume that no influences from inhibiting or activating systems hinder processing. The colloquial statement that only a "clear head" is able to do this is very appropriate because influences from other areas of the brain can disrupt the trained movement patterns and strengthening neural connections. Extreme fear, for example, can lead to an interruption of the corresponding pathways due to the strong influence of the amygdala on the motor system.

Voluntary motor skills

The voluntary motor function is a process that takes place in four steps:

- The decision, including cortical and subcortical areas

- Programming, which mainly involves the cerebellum and basal ganglia

- Movement command that is mainly carried out by motor neurons

- the actual movement


The intention to perform a movement occurs primarily in associative areas of the cortex. In order for an action to follow the making of a decision, it needs motivation. Motivational signals come in particular from the limbic system and prefrontal cortex. The amygdala and the Ncl. accumbens are involved when external influences play an increasingly important role. The motivational areas provide the drive to act.

Precentral gyrus / anterior central turn / primary motor cortex - lateral

Somatosensory and somatosensitive areas process the input from sensory and peripheral sensitive systems as well as the sensitivity of the cranial nerves. On this basis, a strategy is developed, the feasibility of which is checked in the next step and corrected if necessary.


To create a program, the following requirements must be met:

- The position of the body in space and the state of tension of the muscles must be known (actual state).

- Muscles involved in the movement, the time sequence and the strength of the contraction must be determined based on the actual state (target state).

The actual condition is provided by the cerebellum, and the basal ganglia are involved in creating the program for the target condition. After the actual and target state has been compared and the program created, it is transmitted to the motor cortex.

Movement command

The motor cortex transmits the finished program to the spinal cord via descending pathways. There is a switch to executive motor neurons and inhibitory interneurons of the corresponding antagonistic muscle groups. The descending pathways can still be modified by collaterals of other pathway systems in the brain stem and spinal cord.


Motor neurons of the corresponding skeletal muscles are excited and ensure the contraction. From this point on, no further modifications are possible. Once activated, the motor neuron can no longer be inhibited.

Modification due to external circumstances

The described process describes the ideal case in which the body is not changed in its position during steps 1 to 4 by external influences. However, this happens very rarely. Corrections can be made several times during steps 1 and 2.

However, so that a movement can ever be carried out, the corrections are limited to a few times. From step 3 onwards, only small modifications are possible, and the program itself can no longer be corrected. Step 4 can no longer be cancelled.

Nucleus rubber and motor skills

The nucleus rubber is assigned to the extrapyramidal motor system for histological reasons. Functionally, however, it is involved in all motor functions. It receives information from the thalamus, the globus pallidus medialis, the cerebellum and the cortex. The fibers to the lower olive (Tractus rubrospinal) are part of the tegmental tract.

Nucleus rubber / red nucleus - caudal

The cerebellum is the integration center for determining the actual situation of the muscles. The Ncl. rubber is involved in these cycles. In doing so, it forms its own circle of neurons, which extends from the cerebellum via the Ncl. rubber, to the olive and back to the cerebellum. On the one hand, this information contributes to the determination of the actual situation by the cerebellum, and on the other hand, it ensures a modification of the motor impulses of descending pathways. Furthermore, they play a role in the creation of programs in the context of an arbitrary movement.

The rubrospinal tract (efference from the rubber to the spinal cord) primarily, but not exclusively, controls the fine movements of distal extremity sections - especially with automated movements. This is by no means a matter of supporting and holding motor skills, but rather of learned movements.

A beginner in a sport in which fixed movement patterns are exercised over and over again will first imitate the movements of the trainer. Sometimes people look at their own hands or feet. This is done arbitrarily and consciously, while the pyramidal path controls the motor skills.

If the movement sequences with continuous training have been carried out very frequently, the control of the motor skills is changed: the rubrospinal tract now functions as an efferent system for these movements.

The practitioner no longer needs active thinking, but plays "internalized" processes and can meanwhile concentrate mentally on other things (e.g. rehearsing even more complex movements). In the course of motor learning processes, from a certain threshold value of practising the recurring movement patternsNervous, a switch is made from pyramidal to rubrospinal efference. It is not possible to predict when this value will be exceeded.

Author: Vicki Lezama

Need a custom

We will write it for you.
Order now

Free Essay Examples

Free essays:

All you need to know about Neuroendocrinology
All you need to know about Big data management
All you need to know about digital special effects
All you need to know Technical Writing?
Basics the Game Theory in Cryptoeconomics
Business innovation ideas for making money
Biosensors for cancer diagnosis
Business Analysis: Pricing strategies and Demand Curve
Cognitive Computing- How does Cognitive Computing work?
Consciousness: characteristics and peculiarities
Conservation Economics
Cybersecurity in business: challenges, risks, and practices
Demographic trends and how they affect Economic Growth
Dance as an art form and entertainment
Discrimination Economics
Determinants of Wages
Everything you need to know about short-term memory
Economic and Policy Impacts of Demographics
Ethics: an essay on the understanding of evil
Emotions: what are they? Theories explained
Factors of Demographic Data Collection
Factors Affecting Purchasing Behavior
Financial Statement Analysis
Factors Influencing Interest and Exchange Rates
Government's Intervention in The Labor Market
Guide on the Pathways of the nervous system
Game theory in microeconomics
Globalization: definition, causes, social impact and risks
How Relativism Promotes Pluralism and Tolerance
How to use the audience’s feedback to write a news report
History of silent cinema
How news report can be strengthened through multimedia
Introduction to Population Problems
Imperfect Information and Asymmetric Information
Imperfect Information in Insurance
Introduction to Labor Markets
Journalism: What is News?
Journalism: Broadcast media and Television Presenters
Journalism: Sources of News
Journalism and Law
Key Determinants of National Income
Key Factors That Affect Pricing Decisions
Kinetic models in biology and Related fields
Know about the different forms of traditional African dances
Latest technology trends
Latest dance trends
Magnetoencephalography (MEG)
Microeconomic Analysis to the Demand for Labor
Neuromuscular disorders
National Economies, Fluctuation, and Responses to Fluctuations
Neurotransmitters: what they are and different types
Nanomedicines to target tumors
Objections to utilitarianism
Organizational motivation and its effects
Overcoming Hiring Challenges for Nonprofit Organization
Population Demographics
Recurrent neural networks (RNN) for speech detection
Russian School of Mathematics
Research and Development
Risk Sharing in Insurance and Asset Markets
Stochastic optimization methods in deep learning?
Structure of the nervous system
Structure of a Corporation
Schizoaffective disorder: how to live better with it
The climate change denial
The techniques of basic cinematography
The Endosymbiotic Theory
The Role of Internal Audit in Corporate Risk Management
Utilitarianism Vs. Kantianism
Understanding Auctions and Auction Theory: Part 2
Various theoretical perspectives of sociology
Virtual reality, what it is and how it works
What are the linear models in machine learning?
What is Convolutional Neural Network
4 Facts about Origin of Mathematics!
5 techniques to create an animation
10 emerging technologies according to World Economic Forum
10 strategies to maximize corporate profits
3d Model Of Building
6 Medical Technologies that revolutionized the healthcare in 2020
All you need to know about the ACA Code of ethics
Architecture and Democracy: An Introduction
Architecture and Democracy: Democratic Values
Architecture and Democracy: Democratic Procedures
All You Need to Know About a Synthesis Essay
An essential guide to understanding Film Theory
Application of Artificial Intelligence in Cyber Security
Applications of electrical engineering
Augmented reality: what it is, how it works, examples
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Social Networking
All you need to know about Cryptography
Applications of astrophysical science
All you need to know about architecture engineering
Applications of geological engineering
Artificial intelligence and medicine: an increasingly close relationship
An insight into Computational Biology
ACA code of conduct
A Rose for Emily
Applications of Mathematics in daily life
Architecture mistakes to avoid
All you need to know about Toxicology
All you need to know about Holistic Medicine
All you need to know about linguistics
An introduction to Linguistics and its subfields
All you need to know about Anxiety disorder
All you need to know about Drones
A Brief Insight into Political Science
Assumptions related to feminism
All you need to know about Byzantine emperors
All you need to know about labour economics
An insight into xenobots -the first-ever robots
An ultimate guide about Biomaterials
A Comprehensive Introduction to the Mona Lisa
Analysis methods of Transport through biological membranes
An ultimate guide about biochemical reactions
Analysis of brain signals
Artificial Gene Synthesis
Application to synthetic biology of CAD methods
All you need to know about metabolic pathways
Applications of BIOMEMS
All you need to know about the epidemiology
Asian vs. western leadership styles
All you need to know about Smart prosthesis
Analysis of Economy: Output of Goods and Services (GNP), and GDP on Economic success
A Guide to Pricing Strategies
An Overview Of Economic Studies
Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policies
Analysis of Business Cycles
Analysis of Consumption and Investment
A Look into Regression Analysis
Analysis of Household's Consumption and Savings Behavior
All you need to know about Capital Budgeting
All you need to know about risk management
Art looted in wartime.
Appropriate use of Data in Economics
All you need to know about reaction kinetics?
A historical overview of Financial Crises
All you need to know about management discipline?
An insight into the error-correction models
All you need to know about Data visualization
All you need to know about Work-family balance
All you need to know Technical Writing?
All you need to know about digital special effects
All you need to know about Big data management
All you need to know about Neuroendocrinology
How to Write a Personal Essay
Housing Needs in America
How to Write a Description Essay
How to Create an Excellent Scholarship Essay?
How to write a cause and effect essay
How to Hire the Best Essay Writing Service Provider?
How to Write a College Application Essay?
How to get the most out of your English lectures
How to write Expository Essay
How to succeed in your psychology class?
How to Write an Academic Essay in the Shortest Time?
History of Journalism
How Different Sectors are Using Artificial intelligence (AI)
How to write an informative essay
How to deliver persuasive essays?
How to Give a Convincing Presentation
How to write an essay on leadership?
Historical Art Still Around Today
Humanoid robot: what it is, how it works and price
History of Chemistry
Healthcare Advanced Computer Power: Robotics, Medical Imaging, and More
Healthcare AI: Game Changers for Medical Decision-Making and Remote Patient Monitoring
How to understand different types of English
How to Cope with Chronic Pain
How African American choreographers and dancers have influenced American dance
How mobile robot can do in logistics or in production
How To Become a Successful Entrepreneur
History of the Philosophy of Feminism
How is the climate changing?
How to Track Your Content Marketing ROI
How to Gun control In the USA?
Historical and contemporary role of labour in the modern world
How breast cancers are classified?
How the cells of our body communicate?
How the Lymphatic System Works?
How Digestive System Works
How to complete your capstone projects effectively?
How to write a research project
Healthcare technologies that help patients with better self-management
How to choose the topic of the senior capstone project
How to make your business survive at economic crisis
How can immigrants blend in the American society?
How does the economics of war affect society?
Hate speech on social media.
How to Build an Economic Model
How to start a healthcare startup?
How can financial illiteracy harm you?
How cancer is developed - Cancer biology
How to define the Enterprise Value
How to conduct economic research?
How women can manage sexual harassment
How to use quotes in your news reports?
How news report can be strengthened through multimedia
History of silent cinema
How to use the audience’s feedback to write a news report
How Relativism Promotes Pluralism and Tolerance
Introduction to Urban Studies
Importance of dance in education
InMoov: how to build an open source humanoid robot
Importance of KYC verification to making the Blockchain secure
Importance of Rhythm
Importance of dance student evaluation
I/O control methods -types and explanations
Identity theft: what to do?
Introduction to Utilitarianism
Importance of 3d Modelling in Architecture
Importance of online journalism
Image processing in medical diagnosis
Introduction to USA Politics
Introduction to Comparative Politics
International Relations as a Major in Political Science
Importance of modern trade policy
Introduction to Journalism
Introduction to Writing a TV Script
Introduction of Microfabrication techniques
Introduction to Microeconomics
Interaction of Consumer and Firm Choices in Markets
Importance of corporate sustainability
Issues in International Monetary Macroeconomics
Introduction to Statistics and Data for Economics
Introduction to Data and Probability for Economics
Introduction to the Game Theory
Introduction to Econometrics
Introduction to Economic Information
Introduction to Market Equilibrium
Introduction to Economic Models and Application
Introduction to Empirical Research
Introduction to Econometric Data
Importance of Critical Thinking, Principles, and Goals
Introduction to Identification and Causal inferences
Introduction to Econometric Application
Intermediaries and Government in Financial Crisis
Importance and seven principles of quality management
Illiteracy in the USA
Introduction to Economics of Law
Introduction to Coase Theorem
Introduction to Social Choice and Incarceration
Intellectual Property and Product Liability
Investment in Human Capital
Introduction to Labor Markets
Imperfect Information in Insurance
Imperfect Information and Asymmetric Information
Introduction to Population Problems
The Looming Energy Crisis in America
Top benefits of performance-based engineering
The More Languages You Know, The More Times You Are a Man
Things to consider while writing an Argumentative Essay
Top Ways to Improve Your Academic Writing Skills
Tips to Excel in Creative Writing
The origins of films in the early 19th century
Top career options in Architecture
The Elevator Pitch
Top finance trends 2020
The basic Structure and functionality of robots
The Way to Success
The election system of the President in the United States of America
Two-party System in United States of America
Top trends in urban design
The history and theory of African American filmmaking
Top benefits of creative writing
Tinnitus Guide: Common Symptoms and Treatment Options
The language of dance
The digital image processing management
Top famous politicians of the World
Top methods of political science!
The history of the feminist movement
The blood flow in cardiovascular system - Biofluid Mechanics
The best of Leonardo Da Vinci
The Structure and Function of Macromolecules
The structure of cell: a research on the bricks of the human body!
Tissue and organ construction: Adhesion and recognition between cells
The kinetics of the transformation processes
The Modeling of Biological Systems
Tips for writing a great thesis statement
The Defense mechanisms against infections
The impact of the technological innovations in medicine
Top journalism trends to know about
The relation between mass media & politics
Theranostics: Diagnosis and Care through Nanoparticles
The practical Applications of X-rays
The applications of Ultrasound in medicine
Transfer mechanisms of genetic information in Bacteria
The regulation of cellular metabolism in the diagnosis
The Principles of MRI Contrast agents
The technical basis of optical coherence imaging
The New Media: Emerging Trends
The Structure of Interest Rates and the Yield Curve
Technological perspectives and reflections of neural engineering
Types of bioreactors and their applications
The Role of Government Policy in Improving Economic Outcomes
Types of corporate responsibility
The Role of IMF in International Monetary Macroeconomics
Tools for investment decision making
The concept of Organizational Culture and its applications
The Conduct of Monetary and Fiscal Policy
The Basics of Financial Accelerator Models
Tips for labeling medical devices- Medical Entrepreneurship
The different medical imaging techniques
The Economics of Uncertainty – Introduction
Theories of Public Policy
The Game Theory in Social Media
The political theory of Thomas Hobbes
The Use of Law on Economics and Vice Versa
The Role of Internal Audit in Corporate Risk Management
The Endosymbiotic Theory
The techniques of basic cinematography
The climate change denial
What is a Definition Essay?
What are diagnostic essays?
What is the relation between art structural engineering?
What is a Narrative Essay
What are robotics and intelligence systems?
What are the benefits of studying health sciences?
What is artificial intelligence and why it matters?
What is comparative Literature?
Why study neuroscience
What is Wi-Fi and how does it works
What is French history famous for?
What are Humanistic Studies?
What is covered in Biophysics?
What is modern journalism?
What is Virtualization? Benefits & Applications
What are modern public relations?
What is plasma physics?
What is teacher preparation?
What is rapid prototyping for 3D printing?
What is contemporary European Politics?
Why should you learn American Ballet?
What is engineering physics?
What is the purpose of African American Literature?
Ways to learn the Rhythm
What is digital art used for?
What are Enzymes and how do they work
Who is the father of political science?
Why Study Political Science - Job?
What is the Philosophy of Feminism?
What is a quantum computer?
Ways B2B Startups Streamline Their Conversion Strategies
Why do biomedical signals need processing?
What are the long term effects of climate change?
Why study labour relations
What is Holoprosencephaly?
What is antisocial disorder?
What are the important principles of evolution?
What is the cytoplasm and its function?
What is biopolymers?
What Makes a Good Leader
Women empowerment in modern generation
What is the history of political thought?
What is Gene recombination
What is synthetic biology
What is business cost analysis?
What is Inflation
What are the consequences of unemployment?
What is lithotripsy and its types?
What is transition elastography?
What is the purpose of deep brain stimulation?
What is a Brain-Computer Interface (BCI)
What is neuroethics?
What is Market and Supply and Demand
What is optogenetics?
What are the techniques to record brain activity?
What happens if the interest rate increases?
What is immunotherapy?
What is the economic role of the financial market?
What are the factors behind illegal immigration?
What is the lymphocyte activation?
What is financial market and its types?
What is the structure of financial markets?
What are the methods of measuring business performance?
What is the Credit market?
What is business ethics and code of ethics
What are the Causes of financial instability?
What is MBA with Concentrations
What is regenerative medicine?
What is Population ecology?
What is Microfinance: evolution, and practices?
What is biotechnology and its applications?
What are Workplace diversity and its benefits?
What is the difference between a leader and a manager?
What Is Branding and best branding Business strategies?
Why are microelectronics important?
What are biologic drugs.
What is the Foreign Exchange market?
What is the role of scientific research in times of crisis?
What are the risks of international trade?
What is financial management?
What is gene therapy?
What is education economics?
What is regression analysis, and why should you use it?
What Is Technology Marketing And How Should It Work?
What is Management Accounting
What are the methods of valuation of companies?
What is Immune System and Immunotherapy?
What is big data analytics?
What is the 7 layers of OSI model?
What is Neuroplasticity?
What are Sculpture art and its types?
What are the different genres of films?
What is Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)?
What is TES-Transcranial electrical stimulation?
What is Relativism?
What is Vaccine skepticism, and what to do about it?
What happens in the brain when learning?
What is the deep neural network?
What is Convolutional Neural Network
What are the linear models in machine learning?