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Absolute refractory period

Definition:
Brief period of time following an action potential during which a neuron is incapable of producing another action potential.
 
Background:
The membrane has a mechanism that closes the sodium gates when the membrane voltage reaches the peak of the action potential. During this brief time period, the neuron cannot be made to fire another action potential in the region of the membrane where the action potential has just been produced. Even with intense stimulation, the neuron is incapable of generating another action potential during this time period.
 
Further Reading:

Carlson, N. R. (1990). Physiology of Behavior. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Kalat, J. W. (1992). Biological Psychology. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Pinel, J. P.L. (1990). Biopsychology. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

 
Related Terms:
Action potential

Neurons

Self-Instructional Resources:
Take a 1-item self-test over this concept.

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