Neurons that fire together wire together.
— Carla Shatz, Standford University

Neurocommunication: the transfer of information from one cell to another. (NCIt)

A neuron uses its "dendrites” to receive "signals" from other nerve cells and its “axon” to send signals to other nerve cells. (Kandel, 65) Depending on the type of “neurotransmitter” (received), the recipient neuron is “excited” or “inhibited” from “firing.” Thus synapses connect neurons into “circuits” and restrict the flow of information to one direction. (Fields, 320) The efficacy of communication  between a pair of connected neurons is known as the (“synaptic strength”) of the connections. If two neurons are strongly connected, the (signals) between them come in loud and clear, but if they are weakly connected, the (signals) are faint. (Cerebrum2009, 70) Donald Hebb, a Canadian behavioral psychologist … in 1949, proposed that when two neurons fire at the same time repeatedly (or when one fires, causing another to fire), chemical changes occur in both, so that the two tend to connect more strongly. (Doidge, 63) Also referred to as ‘intercellular communication,’  ’signaling’ and ‘synaptic traffic.


Input: anything added into a system. (NCIt) Neurocommunication arriving at a single neuron or multiple neurons, a brain structure or a brain region. Inputs are just patterns that arrive in a sequence. (Hawkins, 127)

Convergence: (the property of) a single neuron receiving inputs from multiple sources. (LeDoux, 42) A given postsynaptic (neuron) is believed to receive relatively few synaptic contacts from any one presynaptic (neuron). As a result, much of the convergence that drives a postsynaptic cell toward "action potentials" comes from the convergence of different presynaptic (neurons) onto the postsynaptic neuron (that is, the near-simultaneous arrival of neurotransmitter from different presynaptic neurons). In order for the inputs to arrive in the postsynaptic “cell body” at about the same time, action potentials have to have been triggered in the various presynaptic cells at about the same time. (LeDoux, 47)

Receptive Field: the region of sensory space from which a “sensory neuron” gets its information. (Blakeslee, 214)

Output: anything coming out of a system. (NCIt) Neurocommunication leaving a neuron, a brain structure, or a brain region. (Motor) command signals are sent (out) to the muscles. Having received a command to move, the muscles execute the movement. In turn, signals from the muscle spindles and joints are sent back up to the brain (as input) via the “spinal cord.” (Ramachandran, 44)

Divergence: (the property of) messages sent out from one cell affecting many others. Exists when a neuron (has) axons that branch and terminate on multiple targets. (LeDoux, 42)

Projection: the process by which groups of neurons in one region receive a strong driving input from a lower region in their hierarchy, then send it to another group located higher in the hierarchy. (Koch, 23)

Signal(s): conveyed message to a "target" cell. (Patestas, 17) A detectable physical quantity or “impulse.” (NCIt) Electrical discharges are the way brain cells send signals to one another. (Iacoboni, 22) Can be incoming or outgoing. (Norman, 6/10/09) Neurons send messages through an exchange of electrically charged chemicals. These messages are responsible for all functions of the 3-pound human brain. (Chudler, 17) Also referred to as “message.”

Transmission: the process by which a form of physical energy is converted into a coded “signal” that can be processed by the “nervous system.” (Hockenbury, 85) The conversion of a signal from a “receptor” into a specific “cellular response.” (Norman, 6/10/09) Verb - ‘transmit.’ Also referred to as ‘transduction,’  ‘sensory transduction,’ and ‘conveyance.’