Difference Between

Afferent Neurons vs. Efferent Neurons: Know the Difference

Afferent neurons transmit sensory signals to the central nervous system, while efferent neurons carry motor signals from the central nervous system to muscles and glands.
Afferent Neurons vs. Efferent Neurons

Key Differences

Afferent neurons, also known as sensory neurons, are responsible for conveying sensory information from the body to the central nervous system (CNS), allowing the brain to perceive external and internal stimuli. In contrast, efferent neurons, or motor neurons, transmit signals from the CNS to effectors like muscles and glands, enabling responses and actions.
The role of afferent neurons is to detect changes in the environment, such as temperature or pressure, and relay this information to the brain and spinal cord. Efferent neurons, on the other hand, play a crucial role in executing motor functions by sending instructions from the brain to the body's muscles and glands.
Afferent neurons are part of the body's input system, collecting sensory data which is then processed by the CNS. Efferent neurons function as the body's output system, delivering processed information and commands from the CNS to the peripheral body parts.
The structure of afferent neurons is specialized for receiving various types of sensory input, such as touch, heat, or pain. Efferent neurons have a structure adapted to effectively transmit motor neural signals to specific body parts for action.
In summary, afferent neurons are vital for sensing the environment and internal body states, while efferent neurons are essential for responding to these sensory inputs by initiating actions or physiological responses.

Comparison Chart


Transmit sensory information to CNS
Carry motor commands from CNS to muscles/glands

Direction of Signal

From sensory receptors to CNS
From CNS to peripheral effectors

Type of Information Carried

Sensory data (e.g., touch, temperature)
Motor instructions (e.g., muscle movement)

Role in Nervous System

Part of the sensory (input) pathway
Part of the motor (output) pathway


Connects external/internal stimuli to CNS
Connects CNS to muscles and glands

Afferent Neurons and Efferent Neurons Definitions

Afferent Neurons

Neurons that relay sensory data to the brain and spinal cord.
Afferent neurons carry information about food flavors to the brain.

Efferent Neurons

Pathways for executing actions via signals to muscles and glands.
Blinking is controlled by efferent neurons.

Afferent Neurons

Sensory neurons transmitting information from body to brain.
Afferent neurons alert the brain when the skin is touched.

Efferent Neurons

Neurons carrying out motor commands to peripheral effectors.
Efferent neurons are active when speaking, controlling vocal cords.

Afferent Neurons

Neurons involved in transmitting external stimuli to the CNS.
Afferent neurons are responsible for the sensation of a gentle breeze.

Efferent Neurons

Neurons that transmit motor signals from the CNS to muscles.
Efferent neurons cause muscle contraction for lifting an object.

Afferent Neurons

Pathways for sensory input from the body to the central nervous system.
The feeling of muscle stretch is transmitted by afferent neurons.

Efferent Neurons

Motor neurons sending instructions from the brain to the body.
Efferent neurons are involved in the reflex action of pulling a hand away from a sharp object.

Afferent Neurons

Neurons that carry sensory signals to the central nervous system.
Afferent neurons convey the sensation of a hot object to the brain.

Efferent Neurons

Neurons responsible for transmitting responses from the CNS.
Efferent neurons signal the heart to increase its beating rate.

Repeatedly Asked Queries

What are afferent neurons?

Afferent neurons are sensory neurons that carry signals towards the central nervous system.

What are efferent neurons?

Efferent neurons are motor neurons that carry signals away from the central nervous system to effectors.

Are efferent neurons involved in muscle movement?

Yes, they stimulate muscle contraction and movement.

Do afferent neurons transmit pain?

Yes, they can transmit pain and other sensory information.

Can damage to afferent neurons cause sensory loss?

Yes, it can lead to loss of sensation in affected areas.

Do efferent neurons control glandular responses?

Yes, they can control glands, stimulating secretions.

Do afferent neurons process information?

They transmit information to the CNS where it's processed.

Where are afferent neurons primarily located?

They are located throughout the body, sending signals to the brain and spinal cord.

Are afferent neurons myelinated?

Some are myelinated for faster signal transmission, while others are unmyelinated.

Are efferent neurons involved in digestion?

Yes, they control muscles and glands in the digestive system.

Can afferent neurons be part of reflex arcs?

Yes, they are key components in reflex arcs, transmitting sensory input.

Can efferent neurons influence heart rate?

Yes, they can affect heart rate by controlling cardiac muscles.

Do efferent neurons play a role in reflex actions?

Yes, they act in reflex arcs to produce a response.

Are efferent neurons part of the autonomic nervous system?

Yes, they form part of both the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems.

Do efferent neurons only communicate with muscles?

No, they also communicate with glands and other organs.

Are afferent neurons faster than efferent neurons?

It depends on their myelination; myelinated neurons transmit signals faster.

How do afferent neurons differ in structure from efferent neurons?

Afferent neurons have long dendrites and short axons, while efferent neurons have long axons and short dendrites.

Can efferent neurons be stimulated by drugs?

Yes, certain drugs can stimulate or inhibit efferent neuron activity.

Share this page

Link for your blog / website
Link to share via messenger

Popular Comparisons

Trending Comparisons

Poster vs. InfographicPoster vs. Infographic
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
December 25, 2023
A Poster is a large printed image or notice for public display, while an Infographic is a visual representation of information or data.
Japanese Eyes vs. Chinese EyesJapanese Eyes vs. Chinese Eyes
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
December 25, 2023
Japanese Eyes and Chinese Eyes refer to linguistic structures in Japanese and Chinese respectively, each reflecting unique aspects of grammar and syntax.
Pulley vs. SheavePulley vs. Sheave
Hifza NasirHifza Nasir
April 4, 2024
A pulley is a wheel on an axle designed to support movement and change of direction of a taut cable, while a sheave is the wheel part of a pulley system that specifically interacts with the cable.
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
February 4, 2024
LTE (Long Term Evolution) is a 4G wireless communication standard with high-speed data transfer, while CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) is an older 2G/3G technology for mobile networks.
Nike Air Force 1 LE vs. Nike Air Force 1 '07Nike Air Force 1 LE vs. Nike Air Force 1 ’07
Hifza NasirHifza Nasir
April 16, 2024
Nike Air Force 1 LE often represents limited edition releases with unique designs, while Nike Air Force 1 '07 is a modern version of the classic, maintaining the iconic style with updated materials.
Pycharm Community vs. Pycharm ProPycharm Community vs. Pycharm Pro
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
February 4, 2024
PyCharm Community is a free, open-source IDE for Python development, while PyCharm Pro is a paid version with additional advanced features like web development support and database tools.
Formal Assessment vs. Informal AssessmentFormal Assessment vs. Informal Assessment
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
December 25, 2023
Formal assessments are structured and standardized, while informal assessments are flexible and observational.
House of Representatives vs. SenateHouse of Representatives vs. Senate
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
December 25, 2023
The House of Representatives, based on population, drafts tax legislation and impeachment charges, while the Senate, with equal representation per state, tries impeachments and ratifies treaties.
Goth vs. AltGoth vs. Alt
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
February 5, 2024
Goth is a dark, often Victorian-influenced subculture and style, while Alt (alternative) is a broader term encompassing non-mainstream styles and attitudes.
Moms vs. Mom'sMoms vs. Mom’s
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
February 22, 2024
"Moms" is the plural form of "mom," referring to multiple mothers, while "Mom's" is the possessive form of "mom," indicating something belongs to or is related to a mother.
Shall vs. Shall beShall vs. Shall be
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
February 14, 2024
"Shall" is a modal verb used to indicate future action or a strong intention, while "shall be" is its future tense form, often implying a sense of obligation or inevitability.
Login vs. LogonLogin vs. Logon
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
December 25, 2023
"Login" and "Logon" are often used interchangeably to describe the process of gaining access to a computer system, but "login" can also refer to the credentials used for access.
2 Pole Motors vs. 4 Pole Motors2 Pole Motors vs. 4 Pole Motors
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
December 25, 2023
2 Pole Motors have one pair of magnetic poles and run at higher speeds, while 4 Pole Motors have two pairs of poles and operate at lower speeds, offering higher torque.
Happen vs. OccurHappen vs. Occur
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
December 25, 2023
"Happen" refers to events or actions taking place, often with an unplanned or casual connotation, while "occur" implies events or phenomena that take place, often with a more formal or scientific tone.
CeraVe vs. LubridermCeraVe vs. Lubriderm
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
February 8, 2024
CeraVe and Lubriderm are both skincare brands; CeraVe focuses on ceramide-rich formulas, while Lubriderm is known for its basic, gentle moisturizers.
Contact Force vs. Field ForceContact Force vs. Field Force
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
December 25, 2023
Contact Force is a force applied through physical contact, while Field Force acts over a distance without physical contact.
Cache Memory vs. Main MemoryCache Memory vs. Main Memory
Hifza NasirHifza Nasir
May 18, 2024
Cache memory is a fast, volatile memory for quick access to frequently used data, enhancing processor speed. Main memory (RAM) is a larger, slower volatile memory for currently used data and programs.
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
February 25, 2024
FHSS (Frequency-Hopping Spread Spectrum) uses rapid frequency changes within a band. DSSS (Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum) spreads signals over a wider frequency using a code.
NM3 vs. M3NM3 vs. M3
Hifza NasirHifza Nasir
April 19, 2024
NM3 measures gas volume under Normal conditions (0°C and 1.01325 bar), while M3 measures volume under the conditions at which it is measured, without standard adjustment.
Term vs. SemesterTerm vs. Semester
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
December 25, 2023
Term is a general period for any division of the academic year, while Semester specifically refers to half of an academic year.
Gorilla Glass 3 vs. Gorilla Glass 5Gorilla Glass 3 vs. Gorilla Glass 5
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
January 1, 2024
Gorilla Glass 3 offers improved scratch resistance and durability compared to its predecessors, while Gorilla Glass 5 focuses on enhanced drop protection and toughness.
Interviewer vs. IntervieweeInterviewer vs. Interviewee
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
December 25, 2023
The interviewer conducts the interview, asking questions and guiding the conversation, while the interviewee is the one responding and being evaluated.
2chan vs. 4chan2chan vs. 4chan
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
February 1, 2024
2chan is a Japanese imageboard primarily for sharing images and discussion. 4chan is an English-language imageboard with a diverse range of topics and more international user base.
Catapult vs. TrebuchetCatapult vs. Trebuchet
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
January 4, 2024
A catapult is a ballistic device using tension or torsion to launch projectiles, while a trebuchet is a type of catapult using a counterweight for greater force and distance.

Featured Comparisons

New Comparisons