Written by Pam MS, NCSP | Fact checked by Psychology Dictionary staff 

a diffuse system of nerve cells that controls arousal by activating both the central nervous system and the autonomic nervous system when stimuli are encountered. A principal component is the reticular formation, which is found at the base of the brain.

AROUSAL SYSTEM: "An individual's arousal system comprises a complex set of nerve cells that produce or inhibit a physiological reaction to stimuli. "

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