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Nat Neurosci. 2002 Jun;5(6):552-6.

A computational role for slow conductances: single-neuron models that measure duration.

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Neuroscience Program, Department of Biological Sciences, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio 45701 USA.


Humans effortlessly interpret speech and music, whose patterns can contain sound durations up to thousands of milliseconds. How nervous systems measure such long durations is unclear. We show here that model neurons containing physiological slow conductances are 'naturally' sensitive to duration, replicate known duration-sensitive neurons and can be 'tuned' to respond to a wide range of specific durations. In addition, these models reproduce several other properties of duration-sensitive neurons not selected for in model construction. These data, and the widespread presence of slow conductances in nervous systems, suggest that slow conductances might play a major role in duration measurement.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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