What are complex reflex actions ?

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bandmanjoe eNotes educator| Certified Educator

First of all, a reflex action is an operation of the peripheral nervous system which completely bypasses the central nervous system, meaning the use of the spinal cord and the brain.  Reflex actions are meant to be largely self-preserving, keeping the organism from harm. A good example of this type of action would be the "escape reflex", more commonly known as the "fight or flight" response.  What qualifies it as a complex reflex action would be the number of synapses the stimulus has to travel through to initiate the response.  The escape reflex mentioned above qualifies as a complex reflex action.

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