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From some sources, I've read that excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPs) decay over time, which would imply that they aren't abolished by action potentials. However, other sources seem to indicate the opposite (although I may be misunderstanding them). Plus, the classical leaky-integrate-and-fire neuron model implies that EPSPs are abolished by action potentials (although this could well be a simplification). Does the refractory period of an action potential affect its originating EPSP? Or is it a separate phenomenon?

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    $\begingroup$ This would probably be better suited for Bio.SE. $\endgroup$ – Josh de Leeuw May 13 '15 at 15:05
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    $\begingroup$ I'm okay with it, basic neuroscience seems within scope for us. $\endgroup$ – Christian Hummeluhr May 13 '15 at 15:30
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    $\begingroup$ @AliceD My reasoning is that "basic" neuroscience falls within a cognitive science, much like neural network questions do (i.e., anyone would learn about action potentials and EPSPs during their undergrad and could answer it with a bit of reading, unlike more involved bio/neuro questions). If you think this is actually an involved biophysical question, I may reconsider. We do not need a biophysics tag. $\endgroup$ – Christian Hummeluhr May 14 '15 at 6:12
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    $\begingroup$ @ChristianHummeluhr - If basic neuroscience is CogSci, then this question should stay. $\endgroup$ – AliceD May 14 '15 at 6:32
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    $\begingroup$ @AliceD Great! I also agree with Josh that this is a good boundary question, and would upvote a Meta answer to that effect. $\endgroup$ – Christian Hummeluhr May 14 '15 at 7:57
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While model neurons like the leaky integrate and fire may use a simplification in which the neuron forgets all previous information when it emits a spike, in a biological neuron, the synapse and the soma are relatively electrically isolated from each other, so the voltage activity of the action potential does not make the synapse "forget" the EPSP. Although see back propagating action potentials for a mechanism for somatic action potentials to affect dendritic processing. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8107777)

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