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Publication Detail
Hippocampal place cells have goal-oriented vector fields during navigation
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Authors:
    Ormond J, O'Keefe J
  • Publisher:
    Springer Science and Business Media LLC
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    This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
The hippocampal cognitive map supports navigation towards, or away from, salient locations in familiar environments1. Although much is known about how the hippocampus encodes location in world-centred coordinates, how it supports flexible navigation is less well understood. We recorded CA1 place cells while rats navigated to a goal on the honeycomb maze2. The maze tests navigation via direct and indirect paths to the goal and allows the directionality of place cells to be assessed at each choice point. Place fields showed strong directional polarization characterized by vector fields that converged to sinks distributed throughout the environment. The distribution of these 'convergence sinks' (ConSinks) was centred near the goal location and the population vector field converged on the goal, providing a strong navigational signal. Changing the goal location led to movement of ConSinks and vector fields towards the new goal. The honeycomb maze allows independent assessment of spatial representation and spatial action in place cell activity and shows how the latter relates to the former. The results suggest that the hippocampus creates a vector-based model to support flexible navigation, allowing animals to select optimal paths to destinations from any location in the environment.
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