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University of Toronto Scarborough
Andy Lee

Cognitive Neuroscience Text Notes Chapter 2: Cellular Mechanisms and Cognition Cells of the nervous system:  Two main principles of neurons: o Connectional specificity-> circuits pass information through specific pathways o Dynamic polarization-> some parts of neurons are specialized for taking information in and others are specialized for taking information out to other neurons or muscles The Structure of Neurons  Neurons – the basic signal units are distinguished by their form, function, location and interconnectivity within the nervous system  Soma- the cell body of the neuron-> contains the metabolic machinery that maintains the neuron  Dendrites-large treelike processes that receive inputs from other neurons at locations called the synapses o If located after the synapse and receiving information they are called postsynaptic o If located before the synapse the dendrites of the neuron are said to be presynaptic o dendrites also exhibit a specialized processes called spines-> little knobs attached by small necks to the surface of dendrites; synapses are located on these spines as well on cell bodies on neurons without spines  Neurotransmitters- chemical substances that transmit the signal between neurons
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