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Microstimulation is a tool used to study the neural substrates of perception. This entry discusses the procedures, history, mechanisms, and applications of microstimulation. The electrical pulses presented during microstimulation mimic the pulses generated naturally by small groups of neurons. To produce microstimulation, the tip of a fine insulated wire electrode is sharpened, and insulation is removed for several micrometers to expose the metal surface at the tip. The tip of the electrode is positioned within the brain area of interest using both anatomical and physiological landmarks for guidance. Electrical pulses are then generated at the tip of the electrode with the amount of current, frequency of pulses, and duration of the pulse train adjusted to best imitate the activity of neurons in the area stimulated.

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