A practical device to stimulate the working of nervous discharges

S. Bent Russell
1913 Journal of Animal Behavior  
First we shall briefly outline a theory which will reconcile observed facts as to the structure of nervous systems and the reactions of such systems. We will then take up the description of a practical mechanical contrivance which will represent the essential elements of a nervous system and which will react in the same way. We will then compare the results obtained with the machine with those given by live nervous connections. In this discussion we shall confine our field to the interactions
more » ... the interactions of the nerves. What happens in sensory endings like those of smell and taste does not concern us. The reader should also avoid thinking of what he knows of his own sensations and have in mind only what he can observe in the nervous systems of other creatures. A nervous system may be taken as controlling several pairs of opposing muscles through a system of nervous channels excited by a number of sensory terminals. A muscular movement or response is caused by a combination of discharges from several channels acting on a given muscle or muscles more than on the muscle or muscles directly opposed to it or them. The said combination of discharges may be excited at one or several sensory points. As a result of individual experience changes take place in the nervous channels. With the same sensations ' as before we observe that the responses have changed and vice versa we observe the same responses when the sensations have changed. The most natural explanation for this is that some of the channels have grown more than others, that is, that they have become more open to the flux. The problem that is before us is to account for the growth 1 Throughout this article the term sensation is used to represent the excitement of a sensory terminal of a nervous channel. Of course this departure from the usual subjective meaning of the word is made for the sake of brevity. 15
doi:10.1037/h0070584 fatcat:rqfeh7ebcbb6zmiilozqnutxfa