By Edward Carterette (Eds.)
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Because the surface area of a neuron varies greatly from one cell to the next, the number of synapses it receives is also highly variable; typically, the number of synaptic contacts per neuron probably ranges from about 2000 for small cells to about 16,000 for large cells, although estimates as high as 60,000 (average) per cell have been obtained in monkey motor cortex and over 200,000 per cell for cerebellar Purkinje cells. An axon does not necessarily contribute only a single synapse to a particular 24 CHARLES F.
One is that in both visual and touch systems, columns of neurons at right angles to the surface of the cerebral cortex contain neurons with consistently related functions at different depths (Whitsel, Petrucelli, & Werner, 1969). This is probably one example of a more general statement, indicated only for vertebrates so far, that neurons which are located near each other are those most likely to be integrated together by higher-order neurons. We would expect that the receptive fields of neurons would agree in outline with the commonest kinds of categories to be found in the environment.
Even allowing for large errors in the available estimates, it seems clear that each neuron receives input from hundreds, and perhaps thousands of other neurons, and, in turn, sends information to hundreds or thousands of other neurons. II. THE NERVE IMPULSE Information is transmitted over relatively long distances in the nervous system by nerve impulses which sweep along the axon. The nerve impulse 2. NEURONAL PROPERTIES 25 is a complicated sequence of physicochemical changes in the axon, the most easily detected of which is a rapid change of voltage difference between the inside of the axon and the outside.