Contrast the nervous and endocrine systems in terms of mode of action and length of response.

Expert Answers
ncchemist eNotes educator| Certified Educator

We are asked to compare the nervous and endocrine systems and their modes of action and length of response.  Both systems differ considerably in terms of both.

The nervous system is the bodily system that sends information throughout the body via electrochemical impulses.  It is composed of nerve cells that have long, branching arms that connect to other nerve cells.  Together, groups of these cells form neural networks that traverse the body.  Because the signals sent from nerve to nerve are electrical in nature, the response times are incredibly fast (on the order of fractions of a second). 

The endocrine system is the bodily system that helps to regulate various bodily activities like growth and digestion.  Instead of electrical signals, the endocrine system uses small molecules called hormones to send signals across the body.  The hormones are secreted from various glands in the body and travel through the bloodstream to their intended targets.  As a result, the response times with the endocrine system are longer than those of the nervous system (seconds, minutes, or longer).