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Thread: What do brain-neurons do?

  1. #1 What do brain-neurons do? 
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    I want to know what brain-neurons basically do. I am not interested in what kind of chemicals they produce, just the operations they perform.

    This is what I think right now, please verify if this is correct:

    When a neuron receives a signal, it will try to match the pattern of that signal to a pattern that it has 'memorized'. If it is a (probable) match it will tell the neurons around it that it found a match. Also, the memorized pattern will get 'stronger'.
    If a neuron receives a signal which it cannot match it will try to memorize the pattern. If the memorized pattern is an 'exception' (so the pattern won't be matched so often) the neuron will 'forget' the pattern.
    A neuron doesn't only match patterns, but also sequences of patterns. And if it thinks the incoming pattern is part of a sequence it will tell the other neurons what to expect next. For example, when you hear a melody, the moment you recognize the melody you will constantly make predictions of what will come next.

    So, in short, it will memorize (sequences of) patterns, match (sequences of) patterns and make predictions.

    Is this correct? Is that everything or does a neuron do more?


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  3. #2  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    I think you are confused with neural networks, with the cautious note that I retain the right to correct your notions later on, when you have corrected them.

    Unless I am wrong.


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  4. #3  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    I am not sure they even do that, Evert. One neuron is hooked up to many different neurons, all of which can be relaying action potentials of varying strength to it. Depending on the strength of the accumulated signals (some of which will encourage an action potential and some of which will dampen it) the neuron may or may not fire its own action potential. I do not think individual cells "memorize" anything like a firing pattern.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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  5. #4  
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    Depending on the strength of the accumulated signals (some of which will encourage an action potential and some of which will dampen it) the neuron may or may not fire its own action potential.
    But what are those signals based on?
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  6. #5  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Action_potential

    Now that I skimmed over the article I see I was wrong about at least one type of neuron - apparently some neurons do fire their own rhythms of action potentials, such as those that control heartbeat, in order to keep it steady.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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