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kdillard's picture

Interneurons and pathways

I have been thinking a lot about what controls the nervous system. For such a complicated and interconnected system, how is it replicated in a nearly identical fashion for each individual? More importantly, how do individual nerves know where to go and which muscles to enervate? In class on Thursday, we were talking about a specific nerve that travels from the base of the spinal chord all the way down to the foot. How does this nerve know exactly where to travel? What is controlling and directing that nerve, if not the nervous system? Also, if differences in behavior are merely the result of different connections and different pathways between interneurons, then what accounts for the development of a learned behavior? If I consciously decide that I am no longer going to be bothered by something that has upset me in the past, and I work every day at not being irritated when that specific thing happens until I reach the point where I am no longer bothered, then have I changed a pathway? If so, how does that change occur? If not, what accounts for the change in behavior?

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