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Basic questions about neurons

Mark Pickering mpicke at ucd.ie
Mon Dec 18 09:49:22 EST 2000

"Richard Norman" <rsnorman at mediaone.net> wrote in message
news:V3e_5.134$ZC4.12725 at typhoon.mw.mediaone.net...

> The classical view of spike trains is that information is primarily
> encoded simply in the average frequency of potentials.  There are
> cases, as in the control of crustacean muscle, where the synapse
> (actually neuromuscular junction) is highly facilitating. In that case,
> patterned activity, as in two or three pulses per burst in a series of
> bursts can produce significantly different results from a uniformly
> distributed spike train.  Even a single action potential interpolated
> into a uniform spike train can make a significant difference.  And
> the medial superior olivary nucleus in the mammalian auditory
> system is a "coincidence detector" identifying simultaneity of
> inputs from the two ears.  It can detect time differences as fine
> as 10 microseconds.  So timing does matter.

I am very interested in neural coding myself. I wonder do you have a
reference for the crustacean muscle work you mentioned. It sounds

> However,  I don't know of any case where neurons can actually
> identify a binary coded pulse train where each interpulse
> interval codes for an independent data value.  Even in these
> cases, the relatively crude pattern has to be repeated and
> averaged over a number of instances.

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