3.1 The Concept of the Synapse

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excitatory postsynaptic potential (EPSP)

graded depolarization of a neuron

inhibitory postsynaptic potential (IPSP)

temporary hyperpolarization of a membrane

postsynaptic neurons

neuron on the receiving end of a synapse

presynaptic neurons

neuron on the releasing end of a synapse

reflex arc

circuit of neurons from the sensory neurons to muscle responses that produce a reflex

reflexes

consistent, automatic response to a stimulus

spatial summation

combination of effects of activity from two or more synapses onto a single neuron

spontaneous firing rate

periodic production of action potentials by a neuron in the absence of synaptic input

synapse

point of communication at the gap between two neurons or between a neuron and a muscle

temporal summation

cumulative effect as a result of repeated synaptic stimulation within a brief time

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