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How environment and self-motion combine in neural representations of space

Evans, T; Bicanski, A; Bush, D; Burgess, N; (2016) How environment and self-motion combine in neural representations of space. Journal of Physiology , 594 (22) pp. 6535-6546. 10.1113/JP270666. Green open access

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Abstract

Estimates of location or orientation can be constructed solely from sensory information representing environmental cues. In unfamiliar or sensory-poor environments, these estimates can also be maintained and updated by integrating self-motion information. However, the accumulation of error dictates that updated representations of heading direction and location become progressively less reliable over time, and must be corrected by environmental sensory inputs when available. Anatomical, electrophysiological and behavioural evidence indicates that angular and translational path integration contributes to the firing of head direction cells and grid cells. We discuss how sensory inputs may be combined with self-motion information in the firing patterns of these cells. For head direction cells, direct projections from egocentric sensory representations of distal cues can help to correct cumulative errors. Grid cells may benefit from sensory inputs via boundary vector cells and place cells. However, the allocentric code of boundary vector cells and place cells requires consistent head-direction information in order to translate the sensory signal of egocentric boundary distance into allocentric boundary vector cell firing, suggesting that the different spatial representations found in and around the hippocampal formation are interdependent. We conclude that, rather than representing pure path integration, the firing of head-direction cells and grid cells reflects the interface between self-motion and environmental sensory information. Together with place cells and boundary vector cells they can support a coherent unitary representation of space based on both environmental sensory inputs and path integration signals.

Type: Article
Title: How environment and self-motion combine in neural representations of space
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1113/JP270666
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1113/JP270666
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Science & Technology, Life Sciences & Biomedicine, Neurosciences, Physiology, Neurosciences & Neurology, HEAD-DIRECTION CELLS, LATERAL ENTORHINAL CORTEX, HIPPOCAMPAL PLACE CELLS, PELLET-CHASING TASK, FREELY MOVING RATS, GRID CELLS, PATH-INTEGRATION, SPATIAL REPRESENTATIONS, RETROSPLENIAL CORTEX, LANDMARK STABILITY
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 > Clinical and Experimental Epilepsy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1496215
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