- Recording electrodes at a neuron, measuring the electrical impulse immediately next to the nerve cell. Equipment connected to the electrodes amplifies and records the signal. If the cell is active, it fires bursts of several short impulses.
The neurons of the brain communicate with each other through electrical signals that can be measured with the appropriate probes. In order to measure the signal of a single cell or of a very small number of cells, microelectrodes as thin as a hair are placed in the cortex of the brain.
Electrophysiology is one of the classic methods of brain research. It is one of the most sensitive and most accurate methods of all, and it is employed routinely in medicine during brain surgery. Although the patients are awake and conscious, they do not feel anything during the measurements, for the brain itself does not feel pain.