Neural encoding of large-scale three-dimensional space-properties and constraints

Jeffery, K. J. , Wilson, J. J., Casali, G. and Hayman, R. M. (2015) Neural encoding of large-scale three-dimensional space-properties and constraints. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 927. (doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00927) (PMID:26236246) (PMCID:PMC4501222)

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How the brain represents represent large-scale, navigable space has been the topic of intensive investigation for several decades, resulting in the discovery that neurons in a complex network of cortical and subcortical brain regions co-operatively encode distance, direction, place, movement etc. using a variety of different sensory inputs. However, such studies have mainly been conducted in simple laboratory settings in which animals explore small, two-dimensional (i.e., flat) arenas. The real world, by contrast, is complex and three dimensional with hills, valleys, tunnels, branches, and—for species that can swim or fly—large volumetric spaces. Adding an additional dimension to space adds coding challenges, a primary reason for which is that several basic geometric properties are different in three dimensions. This article will explore the consequences of these challenges for the establishment of a functional three-dimensional metric map of space, one of which is that the brains of some species might have evolved to reduce the dimensionality of the representational space and thus sidestep some of these problems.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Jeffery, Professor Kate
Authors: Jeffery, K. J., Wilson, J. J., Casali, G., and Hayman, R. M.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Psychology & Neuroscience
Journal Name:Frontiers in Psychology
Publisher:Frontiers Media
ISSN (Online):1664-1078
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 Jeffery, Wilson, Casali and Hayman
First Published:First published in Frontiers in Psychology 6: 927
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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