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      Cellular networks underlying human spatial navigation.

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          Abstract

          Place cells of the rodent hippocampus constitute one of the most striking examples of a correlation between neuronal activity and complex behaviour in mammals. These cells increase their firing rates when the animal traverses specific regions of its surroundings, providing a context-dependent map of the environment. Neuroimaging studies implicate the hippocampus and the parahippocampal region in human navigation. However, these regions also respond selectively to visual stimuli. It thus remains unclear whether rodent place coding has a homologue in humans or whether human navigation is driven by a different, visually based neural mechanism. We directly recorded from 317 neurons in the human medial temporal and frontal lobes while subjects explored and navigated a virtual town. Here we present evidence for a neural code of human spatial navigation based on cells that respond at specific spatial locations and cells that respond to views of landmarks. The former are present primarily in the hippocampus, and the latter in the parahippocampal region. Cells throughout the frontal and temporal lobes responded to the subjects' navigational goals and to conjunctions of place, goal and view.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Nature
          Nature
          Springer Science and Business Media LLC
          1476-4687
          0028-0836
          Sep 11 2003
          : 425
          : 6954
          Affiliations
          [1 ] Volen Center for Complex Systems, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts 02454, USA.
          Article
          nature01964
          10.1038/nature01964
          12968182
          48173803-592a-45b3-90ad-25369e9d62c0

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