It is important to spend some time understanding potentials and permiabilityin the axon of the neuron, to understand behavior. These two fundamental processes are what run the mechanism of communication through the > entire nervous system. Potentials such as the action potential and resting potentials together are what is responsible for information flow through the axon. In this sense, it can be said that potentials are the essence of the neuron. Permeablitity, is what causes potentials in the neuron. In the axon, certain ions are less permeable than others, this causes a concentration gradient, and a region of the axon which is more negatively charged. This negative charge attracts opposing charged particles and repels similar ones. This particle rearrangement causes a more positive adjacent region. This more positive region allows for the permiability of more ions, and another concentration gradient to develope. This is what is meant by information flow through neurons. Understanding this concept makes the complex theories of behavior more simple. One can now view behavior as the result of information flow through neurons in the nervous system to and from the brain. All forms of behavior can be seen as the result of actions potentials traveling down axons of neurons to communicate with other neuons.

Does indeed give us a common set of concepts for dealing with all forms of behavior. Be a little careful though about getting the details right. The concentration gradients aren't caused by the permeabilities or by the membrane potential differences. The concentration gradients are primary, and produced by pumps in the membrane. The potentials result from diffusion down the gradients across semi-permeable membranes, they change because permeabilities change, and the permeability changes occur in part because of changing potentials. Got all that? PG