Although neurons within intact nervous systems can be classified as 'sensory' or 'motor,' it is not known whether there is any general distinction between sensory and motor neurons at the cellular or molecular levels. Here, we extend and test a theory according to which activation of certain subtypes of voltage-gated ion channel (VGC) generate patterns of spikes in neurons of motor systems, whereas VGC are proposed to counteract patterns in sensory neurons. We previously reported experimental evidence for the theory from visual thalamus, where we found that T-type calcium channels (TICCs) did not cause bursts of spikes but instead served the function of 'predictive homeostasis' to maximize the causal and informational link between retinogeniculate excitation and spike output. Here, we have recorded neurons in brain slices from eight sensory and motor regions of rat thalamus while mimicking key features of natural excitatory and inhibitory post-synaptic potentials. As predicted by theory, TtCC did cause bursts of spikes in motor thalamus. TtCC-mediated responses in motor thalamus were activated at more hyperpolarized potentials and caused larger depolarizations with more spikes than in visual and auditory thalamus. Somatosensory thalamus is known to be more closely connected to motor regions relative to auditory and visual thalamus, and likewise the strength of its TtCC responses was intermediate between these regions and motor thalamus. We also observed lower input resistance, as well as limited evidence of stronger hyperpolarization-induced ('H-type') depolarization, in nuclei closer to motor output. These findings support our theory of a specific difference between sensory and motor neurons at the cellular level.