Neurons can change conversation partners

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A note for Lesson no. 2, "Your Brain Is a Network," in Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett.
Some context from page 37‌‌ is:

As neurons change conversation partners, a single neuron can take on different roles.

Each neuron converses with thousands of others. Each neuron continually shifts which neurons it is most listening and speaking to; neuroscientists refer to this as a neuron's neural context.[1]

Shifting neural contexts is thought to be a critical aspect of brain function and contribute to a brain's complexity. This is the primary reason that any given neuron can perform more than one function (i.e., is multi-use).[2]


  1. McIntosh, Anthony Randal. 2004. "Contexts and Catalysts: A Resolution of the Localization and Integration of Function In the Brain." Neuroinformatics 2 (2):175–82.
  2. Anderson, Michael L. 2014. After Phrenology: Neural Reuse and the Interactive Brain. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.