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Science. 2002 Mar 29;295(5564):2462-5.

Cortical neurons encoding path and place: where you go is where you are.

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  • 1Departments of Neurology, Neurobiology and Anatomy, Ophthalmology, Brain and Cognitive Sciences, and the Center for Visual Science, The University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY 14642, USA.


We recorded neuronal activity in monkey medial superior temporal (MST) cortex during movement on a motorized sled. Most neurons showed a preferred heading direction, but some responded only when that heading was part of a particular path. Others responded only when the animal was at a certain place in the room, regardless of its path to that place. Video simulations of the self-movement scene evoked path, but not place, responses. Stationary positioning in the room revealed location preferences that matched place preferences recorded during movement. We conclude that MST encodes heading, path, and place information to support visuospatial orientation.

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