Human Anatomy and Physiology : Identifying Cranial Nerve Function

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for Human Anatomy and Physiology

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Identifying Cranial Nerve Function

Which of the following cranial nerves is not associated with the taste, hearing, smell, or vision?

Possible Answers:

Cranial nerve II

Cranial nerve V

Cranial nerve I

Cranial nerve VIII

Correct answer:

Cranial nerve V

Explanation:

Cranial nerve V is also called the trigeminal nerve. It is associated with sensory receptors on the face, as well as stimulation of the chewing muscles.

Cranial nerves I, II, and VIII are associated with smell, sight, and hearing respectively. Cranial nerve I is the olfactory nerve, cranial nerve II is the optic nerve, and cranial nerve VIII is the vestibulocochlear nerve. Cranial nerves VII (facial nerve) and IX (glossopharyngeal nerve) provide the sense of taste.

Example Question #2 : Identifying Cranial Nerve Function

Which cranial nerve is responsible for bringing auditory and orientation information to the brain?

Possible Answers:

Cranial nerve II

Cranial nerve I

Cranial nerve X

Cranial nerve VIII

Correct answer:

Cranial nerve VIII

Explanation:

Cranial nerve VIII is also called the vestibulocochlear nerve. It is a sensory nerve responsible for bringing information from the cochlea and semicircular canals to the brain. The cochlea supplies auditory information, while the semicircular canals give information about the orientation of the head.

Cranial nerve I is the olfactory nerve, which relays sensory information about smell from hair cells in the nose. Cranial nerve II is the optic nerve, which relays visual sensory information. Cranial nerve X is the vagus nerve, which is highly functional in the parasympathetic nervous system.

Example Question #3 : Identifying Cranial Nerve Function

Which of the following cranial nerves does not help with eye movement?

Possible Answers:

CN IV - trochlear nerve

CN V - trigeminal nerve

All of these are involved in eye movement

CN III - occulomotor nerve

CN VI - abducens nerve

Correct answer:

CN V - trigeminal nerve

Explanation:

The six extraoccular muscles of the eye are innervated by three cranial nerves. CN III, the occulomotor nerve, innervates the superior rectus muscle, medial rectus muscle, inferior rectus muscles, and the inferior oblique muscle. CN IV, the trochlear nerve, innervates the superior oblique muscle. CN VI, the abducens nerve, innervates the lateral rectus muscle.

CN V, the trigeminal nerve, is responsible for sensory information from some regions of the face and motor function of the jaw.

Example Question #4 : Identifying Cranial Nerve Function

Which cranial nerve is responsible for mastication?

Possible Answers:

Glossopharyngeal

Vagus

Trochlear

Facial

Trigeminal

Correct answer:

Trigeminal

Explanation:

Face, nose, and mouth sensations, as well as mastication (or chewing), are controlled by the trigeminal nerve.

The facial nerve is associated with taste, facial expression, and production of tears and saliva. Sensation and swallowing in the pharynx are controlled by the glossopharyngeal nerve. The vagus nerve supplies the pharynx, larynx, and the viscera of the thorax and abdomen. Eye movement is controlled by the trochlear nerve. 

Example Question #5 : Identifying Cranial Nerve Function

The lungs, liver, stomach, and kidneys are all innervated by which cranial nerve?

Possible Answers:

Vagus

Abducens

Trochlear

Trigeminal

Accessory

Correct answer:

Vagus

Explanation:

The vagus nerve supplies the viscera of the thorax and abdomen, including the liver, stomach, kidneys, and lungs. The accessory nerve is a motor nerve supplying the neck muscles, pharynx, and larynx. Eye movement is controlled by the abducens nerve. The trigeminal nerve is responsible for face, nose, and mouth sensations and for chewing. Eye movement is controlled by the trochlear nerve.

Example Question #6 : Identifying Cranial Nerve Function

Which of these cranial nerves (CN) does not have parasympathetic function?

Possible Answers:

Oculomotor nerve (CN III)

Accessory nerve (CN XI)

Vagus nerve (CN X)

Facial nerve (CN VII)

Glossopharyngeal nerve (CN IX)

Correct answer:

Accessory nerve (CN XI)

Explanation:

CN XI only has motor function (innervation of the trapezius and sternocleidomastoid muscles). The other nerves listed have the following parasympathetic functions: pupil constriction (CN III), salivation (CN VII and CN IX) and parasympathetic modulation over multiple internal organs (CN X).

Example Question #7 : Identifying Cranial Nerve Function

Which of the following describes the function of cranial nerve (CN) XI?

Possible Answers:

Hearing and balance

Smell

Head turning, shoulder shrugging (sternocleidomastoid and trapezius)

Eye movement via the lateral rectus muscle 

Tongue movement 

Correct answer:

Head turning, shoulder shrugging (sternocleidomastoid and trapezius)

Explanation:

CN XI (accessory nerve) is responsible for head turning and shoulder shrugging via its innervation of sternocleidomastoid and trapezius muscles. CN I (olfactory) is involved in olfaction. CN VI (abducens) allows for eye movement via its innervation of lateral rectus. CN VIII (vestibulocochlear) functions in hearing and balance. CN XII (hypoglossal) is responsible for tongue movement.

Example Question #8 : Identifying Cranial Nerve Function

What is cranial nerve VIII

Possible Answers:

The vestibulocochlear nerve

The vagus nerve

The optic nerve

The facial nerve

Correct answer:

The vestibulocochlear nerve

Explanation:

Cranial nerve (CN) VIII is the vestibulocochlear nerve. It is purely sensory in function, and is involved in audition, and proprioception. CN VII is the facial nerve. CN X is the vagus nerve. CN II is the optic nerve. 

Example Question #9 : Identifying Cranial Nerve Function

Which cranial nerve innervates the larynx?

Possible Answers:

The vagus nerve

IX

The accessory nerve

XII

Correct answer:

The vagus nerve

Explanation:

The vagus nerve (cranial nerve X) innervates the larynx, and is involve in speech production. The accessory nerve innervates the muscles in the neck and upper back. Cranial nerve IX is the glossopharyngeal nerve and innervates the pharynx. Cranial nerve XIII is the hypoglossal nerve that innervates the tongue. 

Example Question #10 : Identifying Cranial Nerve Function

What is the function of cranial nerve III?

Possible Answers:

Carries visual information from the back of the eyes to the brain

Controls a muscle that helps rotate the eye down and out

Controls most of the muscles that move the eyeball

Controls the muscle that makes the eye look to the side

Correct answer:

Controls most of the muscles that move the eyeball

Explanation:

Cranial nerve III is the oculomotor nerve, which controls most of the muscles needed for eye movement. Also, this nerve controls the ciliary muscle and is responsible for pupillary constriction via parasympathetic innervation. The cranial nerve that makes the eye look to the side is the abducens nerve or cranial nerve VI. The muscle that helps roate the eye down and out is the trochlear nerve or cranial nerve IV. The nerve that carries visual information from the back of the eyeballs to the brain is the optic nerve or cranial nerve II.

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