Successful navigation requires the ability to separate memories based on context. For example, to find lost keys, you must first remember whether the keys were left in the kitchen or in the office. How does the human brain retrieve the contextual memories that drive behavior? JB Julian of the Princeton Neuroscience Institute at Princeton University, USA, and Christian F. Doeller of the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany, found in a recent study that modulation of representations of Map-like training in our brain’s hippocampus can predict contextual memory retrieval in an ambiguous environment.
Researchers developed a new virtual reality navigation task in which human participants learned the positions of objects in two different virtual environments, then had their memory tested during a functional MRI. Memory for the locations of objects was also tested in a third ambiguous context, which the researchers defined as a “squirrel” – a cross between a square and a circle. There were no “correct” object positions there; instead, study participants had to rely solely on their memory. “The result of our study confirms the theory, long supported by several neuroscientists, that a critical function of hippocampal training is to represent contextual information that guides behavior. Cognitive maps in the brain help us act on a specific situation. »Explains Christian Doeller.
Although decades of research indicate that the human hippocampus is essential for contextual memory, no previous study has linked context-specific signals in this brain formation to spatial behavior in a way that clearly separates memory from factors. non-memorial. This research was carried out in collaboration with the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience, NTNU, Trondheim, Norway and supported by the European Research Council (ERC-CoG GEOCOG).
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- Joshua B. Julian, Christian F. Doeller. Remapping and realignment in human hippocampus formation predict context-dependent spatial behavior. Neuroscience of nature, 2021; DOI: 10.1038 / s41593-021-00835-3
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Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. “Hippocampal maps predict context-dependent behavior.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, April 30, 2021.
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. (2021, April 30). Hippocampal maps predict context-dependent behavior. Daily Science. Retrieved May 1, 2021, from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/04/210430120351.htm
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. “Hippocampal maps predict context-dependent behavior.” ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/04/210430120351.htm (accessed May 1, 2021).