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A goal direction signal in the human entorhinal/subicular region

Chadwick, MJ; Jolly, A; Amos, DP; Hassabis, D; Spiers, HJ; (2014) A goal direction signal in the human entorhinal/subicular region. Current Biology , 25 (1) pp. 87-92. 10.1016/j.cub.2014.11.001. Green open access

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Abstract

Being able to navigate to a safe place, such as a home or nest, is a fundamental behaviour for all complex animals. Determining the direction to such goals is a crucial first step in navigation. Surprisingly, little is known about how, or where in the brain, this 'goal direction signal' is represented. In mammals 'head-direction cells' are thought to support this process, but despite 30 years of research no evidence for a goal direction representation has been reported [1, 2]. Here we used functional magnetic resonance imaging to record neural activity while participants made goal directions judgments based on a previously learned virtual environment. We applied multivoxel pattern analysis [3-5] to this data, and found that the human entorhinal/subicular region contains a neural representation of intended goal direction. Furthermore, the neural pattern expressed for a given goal direction matched the pattern expressed when simply facing that same direction. This suggests the existence of a shared neural representation of both goal and facing direction. We argue that this reflects a mechanism based on head-direction populations that simulate future goal directions during route planning [6]. Our data further revealed that the strength of direction information predicts performance. Finally, we found a dissociation between this geocentric information in the entorhinal/subicular region and egocentric direction information in the precuneus.

Type: Article
Title: A goal direction signal in the human entorhinal/subicular region
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.11.001
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2014.11.001
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/).
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
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 > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Computer Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1456305
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