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Harp's avatar

How do signals from nerve endings retain information about their origins as they travel to the brain?

Asked by Harp (19043 points ) November 28th, 2008

So, say the nerve endings in your fingertip send out a signal in response to a pin prick. That signal gets passed up the branches of the nervous system, through the spinal cord and into the brain, right? What is there about that signal that the brain ultimately receives that enables the brain to localize the exact source of the signal? Is that information encoded into the signal? Or is there a dedicated line of transmission from every nerve ending all the way to the brain?

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3 Answers

shilolo's avatar

Harp. The answer is in the later part of your question. Each nerve has a dedicated line of transmission from the periphery to the brain. The signals travel fast owing to the fact that they are transmitted as electrical signals. So, the location and type of nerve ultimately signals to a specific part of the brain, which allows you to discriminate various sensations.

Harp's avatar

Great, thanks Shi.

loser's avatar

I don’t know, do we r-e-a-l-l-y know how the brain works?

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