In the previous chapter we identified the neuron as the presumed structural and functional unit in the organization of the nervous system, and the graded generator potentials and action potentials as its most characteristic signals. In this chapter we discuss in general and qualitative terms the dynamic signal-processing characteristics of an idealized neuron. In particular, we outline the basic mechanisms by which the large numbers of spike trains incident upon a neuron are integrated by the neuron, and by which the corresponding output spike train is continually produced. The concepts discussed here, although in themselves not sufficient to account for all neural operation, seem to be essential ingredients used by the brain in its ongoing signal processing and certainly comprise essential background material for understanding contemporary research in the area.
KeywordsSpike Train Dendritic Tree Excitatory Synapse Inhibitory Postsynaptic Potential Idealize Neuron
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