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.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
26
votes
3answers
29k views

Why is saltatory conduction in myelinated axons faster than continuous conduction in unmyelinated axons?

How does spacing apart sodium and potassium channels allow the action potential to travel faster down the axon? This is the reason always cited for saltatory conduction and myelination, but my mental ...
5
votes
1answer
665 views

Why is it possible to calculate the equilibrium potential of an ion using the Nernst equation from empirical measurements in the cell at rest?

In trying to understand the Nernst and GHK equations, I've hit upon a snag somewhere deep in my understanding of the subject matter. Scenario 1: when calculating the membrane potential of a living ...
14
votes
2answers
518 views

Is our color vision calibrated to sky, vegetation, and blood?

Our color vision is based on three types of receptors (cones) which are sensitive to three distinct locations on the spectrum: 420ā€“440 nm, 534ā€“555 nm, and 564ā€“580 nm. We label them "red", "green", ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

How do our eyes detect light at different frequencies?

Here is my confusion: we can see colored light of different wavelengths: form red to violet. To my understanding, these stimuli cause a confirmational change in the photoreceptors in our eyes and ...
5
votes
1answer
254 views

What is the mechanism by which myelination reduces the capacitance of the axon membrane?

There are two mechanisms that have been proposed to me. 1) Layering of Schwann cell membrane with conducting fluid between the layers is analogous to several capacitors in series. Since capacitance ...
2
votes
2answers
207 views

Why does resting potential not become continually more negative?

(Firstly, I know this is similar to other questions, but I have read those answers and they do not really cover this topic). My understanding of resting potential: action potential is not being ...
20
votes
1answer
557 views

Why are fearful stimuli more powerful at night?

For example, horror movies appear to be scarier when viewed at night than during broad day light. Does light have any role in this phenomenon? Are there changes in hormones at night versus during ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

How does a neuron change as you learn?

I am currently taking a course called "Introduction to Machine Learning with ENCOG 3", and I have a question about how well the Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithm for a "neural network" ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Advantage of opponent color?

Opponent process is a color theory that states that the human visual system interprets information about color by processing signals from cones and rods in an antagonistic manner (source). What is ...
9
votes
1answer
5k views

Why does a light object appear lighter in your peripheral vision when it's dark?

So, I am not sure I can reproduce it via images, but the steps are: 1) At night, open a window and have a look at the surface of the earth 2) Suppose there's an object that reflects a tiny amount of ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Can a single axon propagate multiple simultaneous action potentials?

I have not been able to locate any research that indicates whether a single axon of a neuron or nerve cell can conduct multiple simultaneous (i.e. spatially separate) action potentials. I am aware ...
1
vote
0answers
56 views

Visual maps of the neuronal membrane

There are lots of visual maps of the brain as a whole, especially the cortex, that show the distribution of "features" over a two-dimensional map, e.g. the Brodman areas (their morphology and their ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

Saltatory conduction of nerve impulses

I am aware about some basics of saltatory conduction of nerve impulses. I know that the nerve impulses (ion flow and the depolarization) are transferred from node to node in myelinated nerve fibers. ...
0
votes
2answers
181 views

How do firing patterns arise from the activity of many ion channels?

In his answer to another question, Bryan Krause says: Ion channels don't exhibit any firing patterns: neurons exhibit firing patterns that depend on all the channels present [...]. I understand ...
10
votes
2answers
883 views

How are neurons / synapses “biased”?

I'm trying to see if I understand this correctly. I've read the question Can the human brain be reduced to a binary system? and one of the answers explains: While action potentials are usually ...
8
votes
3answers
5k views

Are there animal species that sense infrared light with their eyes?

I asked a question earlier today about birds with infrared vision but this time I am asking about animals in general. I know that many snakes have receptors between their eyes and their snout that ...
7
votes
1answer
104 views

Cortical projections from layers 2/3 back to 4?

As all excititory neurons in layer 4 are stellate - they have no apical dendrites that could project to layers 2/3. However, I have seen some diagrams showing axonal projections from layers 2/3 back ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

If nerve consists of many axons, where are then their soma located?

This question has haunted me for two years. Wikipedia mentions : A nerve is an enclosed, cable-like bundle of axons (the long, slender projections of neurons) in the peripheral nervous system. A ...
4
votes
2answers
51k views

What are the functions and differences between axons and dendrites?

My textbook doesn't do a very good job of pointing out what the differences between the two are. It basically mentions axons only in the same breath as the synapse (that synapses are the endings/tips ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

Why are Merkel cells innervated by an axon, and not a dendrite?

Here are two images from Google. Afferent neurons receive input and send it to the central nervous system. Input is received by the neuron's dendritic end and send away centrally via axon terminals ...
81
votes
3answers
14k views

Is there an RGB equivalent for smells?

Millions of colors in the visible spectrum can be generated by mixing red, green and blue - the RGB color system. Is there a basic set of smells that, when mixed, can yield all, or nearly all ...
62
votes
4answers
8k views

Are there organisms with fewer than 1000 neurons?

I'm developing neural networks comprised of just 3 to 10 layers of virtual neurons and I'm curious to know if there are any insect brains out there with fewer than a thousand neurons? Are there any ...
36
votes
2answers
3k views

Is C. elegans always observed with precisely 302 neurons? Are there ever individual viable exceptions?

This answer mentions that the C. elegans hermaphrodite has exactly 302 distinct neurons. This has made it a very effective model for a variety of types of biological research, including neurology and ...
11
votes
1answer
778 views

Purpose of K+ channels in action potential

I understand that they serve to repolarize the neuron after the Na+ influx. What I don't understand is why this is important. Meaning, let's say all the K+ channels disappeared. So now the ...
11
votes
3answers
4k views

Does a neuron ever generate an action potential without stimuli?

Most accounts I read involving action potentials and synapses and the like tend to focus mostly on the action potential as a mere automatic reaction to another similar event happening upstream. From ...
7
votes
1answer
672 views

How is color information transmitted from the eye to the brain?

Is color information sent from the eye to the brain frequency-modulated, or are different colors transmitted by different axons? I know that each ganglion cell is connected to multiple photoreceptors....
5
votes
1answer
469 views

How does a change in the potential across a neuron's membrane get turned into a signal that is sent down the axon?

I understand How a signal is propagated down the axon. How the membrane potential of a neuron changes during the course of it's "firing". But I don't understand how physically the change in the ...
9
votes
1answer
12k views

Why can action potentials not be initiated at dendrites?

Why are action potentials not initiated at dendrites, although dendrites are the first to receive input from the presynaptic cell? In fact, excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPs) at the dendrites ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

Relationship between nerves and axons

I just wanted to get a realistic viewpoint of our nervous system. I understand arteries and veins, but I wanted to know how similar our nervous system is to that? I understand we have neurons (...
4
votes
2answers
727 views

Could an action potential produce few or more neurotransmitters based on the stimulus received?

I reckon that if you would be able to widen the AP width, it would produce more neurotransmitters in that larger time interval. Is that correct? Or does the neuron have a standard amount of ...
10
votes
1answer
380 views

Does the nervous system have “routers”?

Does the peripheral nervous system have a system of routers that decide where a message is meant to go based on some kind of address, or does a signal from the brain follow a single, unbroken chain of ...
8
votes
2answers
497 views

What does pain look like in wave form?

I am interested in understanding what "pain" and "hot/cold" look like, as far as waves signatures (signal processing) go. My general understanding of how pain (nociceptive pathways) and hot/cold (...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the science behind the inaccurate perception of colors?

If I go into a green room (all walls are semitransparent and green) and spend some time - around 10+ min - in there, when I come out all my eyes see is white as pink. I see no (or very few other) ...
7
votes
2answers
822 views

What features cause mechano sensory adaptation?

In relation to mechanoreceptors (e.g. pacinian corpuscles), what stops a constant stimulus from producing action potentials? I understand that adaption is used to filter out stimuli that aren't ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Is the bipolar neuron of the retina considered a sensory neuron?

Any neuron that participates in sending impulses from receptors to CNS are referred as sensory neurons. But I often see bipolar neurons of eye(which according to the above definition should be sensory ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

Why does the refractory period of neurons only allow signals to pass in one direction?

My textbook states that the advantages of the refractory period is that it means that action potentials are discrete and also that it results in signals only being able to pass one way, but provides ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

What causes the tonotopic organization of the inner ear?

I'm trying to understand why tones are registered in the way that they are in the inner ear, i.e., why are high pitched sounds sensed at the base of the cochlea and low frequencies in the apex? I've ...
8
votes
1answer
11k views

How precisely can we sense temperature differences?

We have thermoreceptors, thus we can sense temperature (both warm and cold). I'm interested in the sensitivity of our thermoreceptors - What is the smallest temperature difference that we can sense? ...
6
votes
1answer
140 views

What color does the other cone in Tetrachromacy correspond to?

Human with normal vision possesses 3 cones, which correspond to blue (S), green (M) and red (L). What about tetrachromacy, where people have 4 cones in their retinae? What is the fourth cone exactly, ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Can axons act as receptors?

In all histology books, it is stated that all sensory nerve endings (receptors) consist of dendrites that translate physical stimuli from the environment into neural signals. However, several sensory ...
6
votes
1answer
320 views

Perception of white in the absence of rods

If the retina would not have any cones, one would be color blind. If white is the presence of all colors (in the matter of color mixture, not addition), then what would white look like without rods?
4
votes
1answer
142 views

Why is peripheral vision not bleached by daylight?

In daylight, rods are known to be bleached: we have to wait some time after going into darkness before scotopic vision becomes effective. But, as I understand, peripheral vision is also mostly due to ...
4
votes
2answers
339 views

How can binaural beats change mental state?

Can anyone tell me how binaural beats of 10 Hz can cause a person to calm down and one of 40 Hz to cause someone to heighten their attention. All I know is that they work on the principal of Brainwave ...
3
votes
1answer
80 views

Photoreceptors and light with mixed frequencies

I am interested in how the activation of a, say, blue cone depends on the incident light. Wikipedia tells me this: , which describes how strong the activation of the blue cone is for light with a ...
2
votes
1answer
83 views

What are the response frequencies of sensory neurons?

Both visual and auditory stimuli are sent to the brain via ganglion cells (retinal resp. spiral). Both are the first cells along their resp. pathways that produce action potentials. My question ...
1
vote
1answer
221 views

Neural signals amplitude

Can anyone explain me if there is a difference in amplitude of signals between extracellular recording and intracellular recording. I know that the amplitude of neural signals when an action potential ...
0
votes
0answers
67 views

Simple model of dendritic processing

[I striked through some passages that might be misleading, resp. where I have been misled.] Is the following - very simplified - model biologically (or physically) plausible, explaining how ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Are unilaterally deaf people able to determine where sound comes from?

My question is on people deafened in one ear, but normal hearing in the other. Time and level differences between the two ears are only part of how the human body can localize the source of the sound....
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Latency differences between our senses

I would be interested in knowing how long it takes between the moment something touches our skin and the moment something is activated in the brain. Also how long does it take in total until we ...
4
votes
2answers
577 views

Why do negative ions flow into a cell in an inhibitory synapse, even though a neuron has a negative resting potential?

In my spare time I have been reading an introductory Psychology textbook and this question came to my mind after reading about action potentials. I have no previous knowledge in chemistry so if I do ...