Action Potential

Many people often think that the neural impulse (the firing of a neuron) is actually the action potential. However, the action potential is really just one step in the entire sequence of steps that must occur for a neural impulse to occur (we have a nice description of how this occurs in the Class Notes section of…go to the Biological Psychology link to read it. During the sequence of events in the neural impulse, the neural membrane opens at one area and allows the positively charged ions to rush in and the negative ions to rush out. When this happens, the charge inside the neuron rises to approximately +40 mv (is this too much information?) for just a brief moment, but long enough to create a domino effect. As action potentials happen over and over within the neuron, it carries the electrical signal (the information) with it. The neural impulse is like a series of action potentials happening over and over again.

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