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Assessing the mechanism of response in the retrosplenial cortex of good and poor navigators.

Auger, SD; Maguire, EA; (2013) Assessing the mechanism of response in the retrosplenial cortex of good and poor navigators. Cortex , 49 (10) pp. 2904-2913. 10.1016/j.cortex.2013.08.002. Green open access

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Abstract

The retrosplenial cortex (RSC) is consistently engaged by a range of tasks that examine episodic memory, imagining the future, spatial navigation, and scene processing. Despite this, an account of its exact contribution to these cognitive functions remains elusive. Here, using functional MRI (fMRI) and multi-voxel pattern analysis (MVPA) we found that the RSC coded for the specific number of permanent outdoor items that were in view, that is, items which are fixed and never change their location. Moreover, this effect was selective, and was not apparent for other item features such as size and visual salience. This detailed detection of the number of permanent items in view was echoed in the parahippocampal cortex (PHC), although the two brain structures diverged when participants were divided into good and poor navigators. There was no difference in the responsivity of the PHC between the two groups, while significantly better decoding of the number of permanent items in view was possible from patterns of activity in the RSC of good compared to poor navigators. Within good navigators, the RSC also facilitated significantly better prediction of item permanence than the PHC. Overall, these findings suggest that the RSC in particular is concerned with coding the presence of every permanent item that is in view. This mechanism may represent a key building block for spatial and scene representations that are central to episodic memories and imagining the future, and could also be a prerequisite for successful navigation.

Type: Article
Title: Assessing the mechanism of response in the retrosplenial cortex of good and poor navigators.
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.cortex.2013.08.002
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2013.08.002
Additional information: © 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Keywords: Episodic memory, Landmarks, Navigation, Permanence, Retrosplenial cortex
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Imaging Neuroscience
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1405246
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