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What are the differences between a reflex action and an involuntary action?

Asked by somyap 4th May 2010, 10:01 AM
Answered by Expert

All reflex actions are involuntary in nature but all involutary actions are not reflexes. eg. -  the beating of heart is an involuntary action but is not reflex action.

Reflex actions are very quick but all involutary actions may not be quick.

A reflex action may involve a muscle or a gland but all involuntary actions involve only smooth muscles.

Reflex actions are at the level of spinal cord whereas the involuntary actions generally involve brain too

Nerves and autonomous nervous system can increase or decrease the rate of involuntary actions but reflex actions are not usually controllable.

Reflex actions are done to meet emergencies where as an involuntary action may or may not be for meeting an emergency. It could also be a critical life process such as circulation of blood, movement of food in food pipe, etc.

A reflex action may be conditioned (as in the case of salivation response by a dog on hearing the bell even when food is not supplied in Pavlov's expt.) but an involuntary action would not be generally influenced by external conditioning.

Answered by Expert 4th May 2010, 5:34 PM
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