Questions tagged [neurophysiology]

The study of the physiology of the nervous system, with emphasis on transcellular communication, and cellular and molecular processes involved in neural communication.

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1answer
933 views

Does adult neurogenesis occur only in the olfactory bulb and the hippocampus?

The scholarpedia article on this subject says: Adult neurogenesis is the process of generating new neurons which integrate into existing circuits after fetal and early postnatal development has ...
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1answer
921 views

Can Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), or a magnets cap make you smarter?

According to wikipedia, TMS is a bunch of magnetic fields directed to the brain which stimulates and activates neurons. If I wear a cap full of magnets, will it stimulate my neurons? If yes, will a ...
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How does it come about that specific areas of the brain are associated with specific functions?

During the development of the human brain, specific areas come to perform specific functions. How (and when) does this differentiation come about? Presumably, some areas of the brain naturally take ...
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1answer
96 views

Parasite that takes over cognitive functions [closed]

I am testing an idea for a book. The backbone of the story is that there exists a parasite that can enter the brain of a creature and take over its cognitive functions. I imagine that it could wire ...
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2answers
566 views

How do neurons decide how to alter their output signals?

In computer science, neural networks are trained using backpropagation and other methods. Backpropagation heavily relies on mathematical formulas to describe how the weights should be changed ...
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1answer
121 views

Is inhibitory brain circuitry involved in cross-modal sensory perception?

In many research articles, a vague description of a inhibitory circuitry in the brain is mentioned. This is presented as an inhibitory mechanism that prevents input from one sensory modality to excite ...
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2answers
179 views

Does the retina encode visual information like a Bitmap or an SVG?

I heard recently that a scientist has developed a retina prosthesis. So I think this is a question that has an answer. Does the retina encode information like a Bitmap image or an SVG image? (A ...
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0answers
355 views

What are the smallest neurons ever identified? [closed]

What are the smallest neurons ever measured? I'm happy with any superlatives, such as the thinnest axons or dendrites, smallest somata etc. Thank you :)
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Explanatory gaps in the formation and propagation of action potentials

To my understanding, the steps of an action potential are as follows: The neuron is at rest--there is a negative charge (K ions) inside the cell, and a positive charge (Na ions) outside the cell. ...
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1answer
128 views

What is so "potential" about action potentials?

When an action potential is propagating through a neuron, it seems to me that the time for "potential of action" is over, and that we are now just in a state of "action". Why don't we just call action ...
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Do studies exist that can map specimens of neocortex to the functions they perform(ed) in vivo?

Much brain research has proposed that the brain (the neocortex, esp.) is set up in areas - an area for faces, an area for language, etc.. The experiments typically go 1) damage an area 2) observe ...
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How many dendrite connections vs axon terminals does a multipolar cerebral neuron have?

I find countless places stating that neurons have tens of thousands of "connections" or "synapses" and one axon. Do neurons have tens of thousands of dendrite connections, and a few axon terminals; ...
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What are presynaptic puncta?

What are presynaptic puncta? And what makes them different from presynaptic terminals? I encountered the term puncta in the following article: Molofsky AV, Kelley KW, Tsai HH, Redmond SA, Chang SM, ...
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104 views

Are there parts of the brain which don't change over a lifetime?

We know that during our lifetime the brain develops new neural connections. In addition, there is pruning of neural connections. These phenomena together are called neuroplasticity. Is there any ...
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40k views

What is the difference between pre-synaptic versus post-synaptic?

As a non-specialist, I am unclear as to the exact meaning of the terms pre-synaptic and post-synaptic. Specifically, do they refer to the same neuron, either transmitting or receiving, before and ...
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1answer
162 views

What is the meaning of "little efferent input" to retina?

Gollisch & Meister (2010) state that "the retina receives little efferent input from the brain" (p. 157). Could anyone describe what exactly this "little efferent input" (where it originates, ...
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2answers
522 views

What is the result of an excess of dopamine?

I'm pretty familiar with the results of having not enough dopamine, though the reasons are not so clear to me. To get a better insight on the topic I'd like to know something about having too much ...
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265 views

How is tone volume encoded?

I am wondering whether increasing the volume would result in (a) a neuron that was already firing to now increase its spike rate, (b) a different group of neurons to add their activity to the ...
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2answers
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How does masking work?

Masking occurs when the delay between the target and the mask is less than a threshhold (say 50 milliseconds). If sensory data passes from lower to higher visual cortices/processing regions as in a ...
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1answer
71 views

Is it possible to imitate two way communication between a brain and a limb?

Human muscles are controlled by action potentials that travel along the nerves. Below is an image of a train of action potentials that are decoded by the brain into a sensation or interpreted by a ...
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2answers
437 views

Why can we not see around our point of focus of our eyes?

Why do we have to strictly focus on something to really see what it looks like? Is everything else around blurred, or is our brain trained only to see in the center of the image projected on the ...
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2k views

How would synapses behave if resting potential was zero?

Assuming that the resting potential is zero and the other mechanisms were exactly the same, how would it affect the generation of spikes in terms of excitatory and inhibitory postsynaptic potentials(...
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What regulates the strength of motor signals?

I've seen cognitive and robot models where the input signals from the sensors are directly used as the signal for outgoing motor control. This doesn't make much sense, because obviously we're able ...

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