What is a Neurotransmitter? - Definition, Types, Function & Examples

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Nervous System Overview: Central & Peripheral

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:04 Neurotransmitters
  • 0:16 Neurons
  • 0:56 Neuron Functions
  • 2:03 Types of Neurotransmitters
  • 2:48 Lesson Summary
Add to Add to Add to

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Login or Sign up

Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create An Account

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Paul Bautista
How do our bodies communicate with our brains and vice versa? In this video, you'll see how neurons and neurotransmitters can be likened to billions of tiny baseball players engaged in a non-stop game of catch.


Neurotransmitters are chemical signals that can affect such feelings as mood, hunger, anxiety and fear. Let's take a look at what happens inside your nervous system.

Title Bar: NEURONS

Inside your brain, muscles and glands, you have nerve cells called neurons that have the job of passing signals. An easy way to think of these cells is to imagine them as baseball players passing a baseball around the field. The 'baseballs' are the chemical signals that are thrown between the players. The neurotransmitters are thrown across the synaptic gap from one neuron's terminal branch (or pitching hand) to another neuron's dendrites (or catching hand). The catcher gets excited by the chemical signal, an electrical current travels through the pitching arm, or axon, and the terminal branches at the end of the axon fire off the neurotransmitters.


In the human body, there are billions of little neurons, and they're not all the same. Some have short pitching arms and some have pitching arms up to three feet long! Some neurons throw neurotransmitters at the speed of one mph, and others throw fastballs up to 268 mph! Different neurons play different positions too. Your sensory neurons fire signals to your brain neurons, and your brain neurons in turn fire signals off to your motor neurons. Your nerves pass information about what you see and hear to your brain, which sends out signals to your muscles, so you can react. So when you see a ball flying through the air towards you, your brain neurons send signals to your arms to reach out and catch the ball.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register for a free trial

Are you a student or a teacher?
I am a teacher

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 95 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 2,000 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create An Account