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6.5.2. Relationship

Relationship function

The relationship function is the ability of living beings to perceive stimuli (physical or chemical changes produced in the internal and external environment) and produce the appropriate responses to allow their survival.

Living beings, through the relationship function, coordinate the functioning of their organism to adapt in the best way to the environment to have enough food and relate to other living beings.

The sense organs are responsible for capturing the changes that occur in the environment.

The relationship function consists of the following stages:

The perception of stimuli

The changes that occur in the environment (stimuli) are perceived by living beings through sensory receptors (cells or other specialized structures).

There are several types of sensory receptors:

  • Mechanoreceptors. They detect mechanical stimuli, such as pressure, contact, vibrations, etc.
  • Photoreceptors. They capture light stimuli.
  • Chemoreceptors. They capture chemical stimuli, such as substances dissolved in the air or in water.
  • thermoreceptors. They capture temperature variations.

The stimuli can come from the body itself, and are detected by proprioceptors, a type of receptor. Those that come from outside are captured by sensory receptors that are grouped in the  sense organs. The main senses of animals are sighthearingbalancesmelltastetouch, and the detection of temperature and pain.

Information processing and coordination

The information that arrives through the sensory receptors to the central nervous system is processed and the appropriate response is elaborated to adapt to the environmental situation.

The execution of responses

The response that has been prepared must be executed. Animals have two systems that allow them to coordinate the stimuli that reach them and elaborate the responses.

  • The nervous system produces quick and short-lived responses to a stimulus. The nervous system is made up of neurons, which are the cells responsible for carrying out these functions. It allows you to respond to the stimulus with movements.
  • The hormonal system produces slow but lasting responses. The hormonal system is made up of hormonal glands, which secrete substances called hormones.