Nav: Home

How the brain helps humans navigate from place to place

June 09, 2016

Interactions between the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex enable humans to plan and navigate their route from one location to another, a new study reveals. The results provide direct evidence of this network, shedding light on the complex processes behind goal-oriented navigation. To gather data on brain activity in humans during such a task, Thackery Brown et al. exposed humans to a virtual environment in which they had navigate to five different locations. The next day, the participants were required to find the same locations. Whole-brain, high-resolution fMRI tests were completed as these individuals planned their route, as well as during actual navigation. Analysis of the data reveals that the orbitofrontal cortex, which is known to interact with the hippocampus during memory-guided navigation, plays a key role in classifying what constitutes a "future goal," or end point, in navigation. The frontopolar cortex was found to play a role in regulating the encoding of this information in the hippocampus. Three other regions - the parahippocampal cortex, perirhinal cortex, and retrosplenial complex - were found to help the brain "visualize" future spatial contexts for navigation. The data in this study is sufficiently detailed that the researchers were able to determine when a "sub-goal," a stimulus along the route to the goal, was detected, and they also observed that recognition of these stimuli were preferred over "non-goals." Collectively, these results provide intriguing insights into how the human brain navigates space.
-end-


American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related Hippocampus Articles:

Brain remapping dysfunction causes spatial memory impairment in Alzheimer's disease
A research group elucidated the brain circuit mechanism that cause of spatial memory impairment in Alzheimer's disease.In the future, improving brain remapping function may reverse spatial memory impairment in patients with Alzheimer's disease.
Impact of family income on learning in children shaped by hippocampus in brain
A new study by a team of researchers at the University of Toronto identifies the region of the brain's hippocampus that links low income with decreased memory and language ability in children.
Inhibitory interneurons in hippocampus excite the developing brain
A new study from the George Washington University, however, reports that in some critical structures of the developing brain, the inhibitory neurons cause excitation rather than suppression of brain activity.
A good blood supply is good for memory
Memory performance and other cognitive abilities benefit from a good blood supply to the brain.
Scientists identify circuit responsible for building memories during sleep
Neuroscientists at the University of Alberta have identified a mechanism that may help build memories during deep sleep, according to a new study.
Lack of oxygen doesn't kill infant brain cells, as previously thought
Research, conducted at OHSU and published in the Journal of Neuroscience, raises new concerns about the vulnerability of the preterm brain to hypoxia.
Schizophrenia: Adolescence is the game-changer
Schizophrenia may be related to the deletion syndrome. However, not everyone who has the syndrome necessarily develops psychotic symptoms.
How the olfactory brain affects memory
How sensory perception in the brain affects learning and memory processes is far from fully understood.
Penn researchers discover the source of new neurons in brain hippocampus
Researchers have shown, in mice, that one type of stem cell that makes adult neurons is the source of this lifetime stock of new cells in the hippocampus.
Scientists find first evidence for necessary role of the human hippocampus in planning
A team of scientists reports finding the first evidence that the human hippocampus is necessary for future planning.
More Hippocampus News and Hippocampus Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Warped Reality
False information on the internet makes it harder and harder to know what's true, and the consequences have been devastating. This hour, TED speakers explore ideas around technology and deception. Guests include law professor Danielle Citron, journalist Andrew Marantz, and computer scientist Joy Buolamwini.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#576 Science Communication in Creative Places
When you think of science communication, you might think of TED talks or museum talks or video talks, or... people giving lectures. It's a lot of people talking. But there's more to sci comm than that. This week host Bethany Brookshire talks to three people who have looked at science communication in places you might not expect it. We'll speak with Mauna Dasari, a graduate student at Notre Dame, about making mammals into a March Madness match. We'll talk with Sarah Garner, director of the Pathologists Assistant Program at Tulane University School of Medicine, who takes pathology instruction out of...
Now Playing: Radiolab

What If?
There's plenty of speculation about what Donald Trump might do in the wake of the election. Would he dispute the results if he loses? Would he simply refuse to leave office, or even try to use the military to maintain control? Last summer, Rosa Brooks got together a team of experts and political operatives from both sides of the aisle to ask a slightly different question. Rather than arguing about whether he'd do those things, they dug into what exactly would happen if he did. Part war game part choose your own adventure, Rosa's Transition Integrity Project doesn't give us any predictions, and it isn't a referendum on Trump. Instead, it's a deeply illuminating stress test on our laws, our institutions, and on the commitment to democracy written into the constitution. This episode was reported by Bethel Habte, with help from Tracie Hunte, and produced by Bethel Habte. Jeremy Bloom provided original music. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.     You can read The Transition Integrity Project's report here.