Neuron Function Inferred from Behavioral and Electrophysiological Estimates of Refractory Period

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Science  21 Nov 1969:
Vol. 166, Issue 3908, pp. 1028-1030
DOI: 10.1126/science.166.3908.1028


The refrcactory period of neurons mediating an electrically elicited behavior (self-stimulation) was estimated by varying the intrapair pulse separation in a stimulating train made up of pulse pairs and measuring the intensity of the elicited behavior. Two neuronal systems with different refractory periods were indicated. Single-unit recording in acute preparations stimulated through self-stimulation electrodes revealed primarily two classes of units. Each class gave refractory period estimates characteristic of one of the behaviorally indicated systems. The experiments illustrate a technique for establishing functional relations between single units in the brain and gross behavior.

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