In biology, an automatic and inborn response to a stimulus that involves a nerve impulse passing from a sensory nerve cell to a muscle or gland without reaching the level of consciousness. Simple reflexes include sucking, swallowing, blinking, scratching, and the knee jerk. Most reflexes consist of complex patterns of many unconsciously coordinated muscular actions that form the basis of much instinctive behavior in animals. Examples include walking, standing, the cat's righting reflex, and basic sexual acts.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on reflex, visit

Seen & Heard

What made you look up reflex? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.

Get Our Free Apps
Voice Search, Favorites,
Word of the Day, and More
Join Us on FB & Twitter
Get the Word of the Day and More