Biophys J. 1965 Mar;5(2):173-94. doi: 10.1016/s0006-3495(65)86709-1.


A simple neuronal model is assumed in which, after a refractory period, excitatory and inhibitory exponentially decaying inputs of constant size occur at random intervals and sum until a threshold is reached. The distribution of time intervals between successive neuronal firings (interresponse time histogram), the firing rate as a function of input frequency, the variability in the time course of depolarization from trial to trial, and the strength-duration curve are derived for this model. The predictions are compared with data from the literature and good qualitative agreement is found. All parameters are experimentally measurable and a direct test of the theory is possible with present techniques. The assumptions of the model are relaxed and the effects of such experimentally found phenomena as relative refractory and supernormal periods, adaptation, potentiation, and rhythmic slow potentials are discussed. Implications for gross behavior studies are considered briefly.

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials*
  • Humans
  • Mathematics*
  • Membrane Potentials*
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Neurons*
  • Neurophysiology*
  • Periodicity*
  • Sensory Receptor Cells*