College of Psychology: Faculty Articles

Title

Basic Neuron Model Electrical Equivalent Circuit: An Undergraduate Laboratory Exercise

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2013

Keywords

Ohm’s Law; RC Circuit; cable theory; electrical equivalent circuit; electrical properties; neuron model

Publication Title

The Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education (JUNE)

Volume

12

Issue/No.

1

Abstract

We developed a hands-on laboratory exercise for undergraduate students in which they can build and manipulate a neuron equivalent circuit. This exercise uses electrical circuit components that resemble neuron components and are easy to construct. We describe the methods for creating the equivalent circuit and how to observe different neuron properties through altering the structure of the equivalent circuit. We explain how this hands-on laboratory activity allows for the better understanding of this fundamental neuroscience concept. At the conclusion of this laboratory exercise, undergraduate students will be able to apply the principles of Ohm's law, cable theory with regards to neurons, and understand the functions of resistance and capacitance in a neuron.

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