Generally, students do not like mathematics and solving a mathematical assignment is considered as a burden. The fear of mathematics leads most of the students to choose streams that do not require solving mathematical problems. But one cannot run away from it; we find math’s in accounting, physics, chemistry, engineering and even in science. Science not only consists of technical terms but also has numbers to deal with it. Temporal vs spatial summation is one such concept where you need to deal with mathematics not in the form of numbers but in the form of neurons.
The nervous system consists of neurons, and it helps in stimulation and reactions. In order to understand the discussion on temporal vs spatial summation, certain biological terms need to be studied. The article will help you to understand temporal vs spatial summation in an easy way.
Understanding the terms temporal vs spatial summation
To understand the meaning of the three terms involved in temporal vs spatial summation, we will first understand what summation means.
The summation is also sometimes called as frequency summation. The process of summation helps to establish communication between the neurons in order to regulate the action potentials that get activated by postsynaptic potentials. Neurotransmitters are emitted by presynaptic neurons, and they are categorized into two groups, excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters. The effects of inhibitory neurotransmitters lessen when there is an increase in the activity of excitatory neurotransmitters. The neuron works when there is an exciting or inhibiting action, in case there is no such action, then the neurons provide limited response. The summation will be temporal if the chosen neuron receives a regular small interval input from a single axon terminal. The summation will be spatial when the chosen neuron gets multiple inputs from multiple sources. When a specific neuron is able to attain action potential, then it leads to temporal summation. Summation in temporal vs spatial summation is dependent upon the length of the time constant and the regular occurrence of the action potential. When a potential ends, the next action potential will automatically rise. When both the potentials summate, it will generate a higher potential and will lead to the next action potential. Temporal summation gets involved when it is to deal with vision. The law propagated by Bunsen-Roscoe is inversely proportioned to intensity and time. The frequency of vision is connected to the frequency of flashes.
Spatial summation is a technique to achieve an action potential in a neuron which gets inputs from multiple cells. If you summate or add all the potentials available in the dendrites, there will be a spatial summation. As discussed previously, after a potential reaches its threshold, the second action potential will be generated, the phase is called as excitatory. The inhibitory phase will prevent the cell from reaching the action potential. As per the law propagated by Ricco, intensity and area in the eye are inversely related, and it is so because of the union of signals coming from rods to bipolar which further changes to ganglion cells.
Working of the action potential in temporal vs spatial summation
The central nervous system of all persons comprises the brain and the spinal cord. There are other organs as well in the nervous system, but they form the peripheral nervous system. As pointed out in the previous section, there are many small cells in the nervous system known as neurons. Neuron helps to move the body when there is an exchange of information basis the signals received. Presynaptic cells send information to the neuron and postsynaptic cell or sometimes also known as receiving cells helps in receiving the information assembled from electric signals.
We already had a discussion about action potentials in the previous section where we understood the terms temporal vs spatial summation but still lets again understand how it functions.
What is the action potential?
The nerves in our body are connected to our brain in a similar fashion as wires connect to a switchboard. The movement in the body is made with the help of nerves. The brain through the neuron sends signals to the body part, which needs to be moved. There are some charged particles in the nerve cells, and they move with the help of action potential. Electric potential is another term which needs to be understood when writing about action potential. It is a force used to create movement in a positive charge from one place to another in the electric field. In the same form, an action potential is a force used to move a charged particle in among the neurons. The outer layer of the neuron helps the charged particles to move around the cell. The charged particles move through small gates. The physiologists define action potential as a portion of the firing process of neurons in which the neutral membrane allows the entry of positively charged particles inside the cell and the particles which are negatively charged are flown out.
It is known as the sharing of information from one neuron to another. The information is shared through small gaps existing in two axons or in the dendrites. The synaptic junctures help in establishing communication between the neurons. Synapses form a path for neural information exchange triggering an action in the presynaptic neuron which initiates the flow of neurotransmitters. The central nervous system is intervened by a number of synapses, and the postsynaptic potentials (PSPs) generated by every synapse is clubbed to verify the behaviour of the PSN that is postsynaptic neurons.
Explaining the process:
The sting of a bee in your leg is a stimulus.
A signal is sent from the brain as an electrical impulse from the neurons to the hands to scratch the affected area, is a response.
The main function of wave in the temporal vs spatial summation
Wave summation is a combined response coming from a motor unit with the application of two or more than two stimuli in a quick sequence. A twitch response is received with the help of stimuli made in the motor of a muscle. Higher tension will be generated in the muscles if there is a second application of stimulus to the muscle when there is no response from the first one. The sudden application restricts the muscles from relaxing, leading to the building of contractions on one another and exerting wave pattern. There will be a summation of the contraction when a muscle receives a second stimulus before recovering from the first one. The summation so made is known as wave summation.
Functions of the body performed after wave summation
Preventing fatigue of muscles
Increasing tension in the muscle
Preventing muscle from relaxation
Producing a smooth and continuous muscle contraction
An action potential is generated by a combined effect of many stimuli on one cell. The reaction of stimuli with neurons is determined by the action potential. The transmission of signals by neurons is a complicated process. It involves the firing of neurons, or in other words, it is the process in which the muscle cell reverses polarization. The cells maintain an excitation-contraction coupling which uses ion to move around the neural membranes. When the differently charged particles are charged by the stimulus, and it moves around the membrane of the cell, it spikes the potential. Spike potential leads to the running of the action potential. The later takes place only when each factor has combined to attain energy threshold. If the process does not take place, then there is no occurrence of the action potential, and the body is unable to move its muscles.
The image provided above helps in analyzing the resting potential of a neuron. The neuron will come into action when it receives an action potential in the form of a nerve cell sending information with the help of an axon out of the cell body. It is a summation of all the potentials predicting the occurrence of action potentials or not. In case the graded potential has the required voltage to reach the threshold value, then it will lead to the generation of the action potential. But if in case the threshold is not achieved, there will be no action potential.
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