Cranial Nerves: Sensory and Motor Functions
The cranial nerves make up the peripheral nervous system of humans. In total there are 12 pairs of cranial nerves we find in humans. They have various functions in our nervous system and emerge from the nose, eyes, brainstem and other parts of the skull. Most cranial nerves have sensory and motor functions.
Human cranial nerves and their functions:
- Olfactory nerve: Sensory nerve that acts on the human sense of smell.
- Optical nerve: Sensory nerve that acts on vision.
- Oculomotor Nerve: has a sensitive part and another motor. It acts on eye movements and muscle sensitivity.
- Trochlear Nerve: has a sensitive part and another motor. It also acts on vision, especially the movement of the eye bulb.
- Trigeminal Nerve: has a motor part and a sensitive part. The motor part acts on chewing. The sensory part acts mainly on the sensations (thermal, pain and touch).
- Abducent nerve: the sensory part acts on the movement of the eye bulbs. The motor part acts on the stimulation of the lateral rectus muscles.
- Facial nerve: the sensory part acts on muscle and taste sensitivity. The motor part has functions related to facial expressions, saliva secretion and also tears.
- Vestibulocochlear Nerve: has functions related mainly to balance and hearing.
- Glossopharyngeal Nerve: The sensory part acts on taste sensations and muscle sensitivity. The motor part acts on saliva secretion.
- Vagus nerve: the sensory part acts mainly on sensations with pain, touch and thermal sensation. The motor part acts in the production of voice, cough, heart rate, swallowing and secretion of digestive enzymes.
- Accessory Nerve: the sensory part acts on muscle sensitivity. It also performs motor functions related to swallowing and head movement.
- Hypoglossal Nerve: The motor part has functions related to tongue movements. The motor part acts on muscle sensitivity.