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Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2009 May 12;364(1521):1193-201. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2008.0316.

Prediction, sequences and the hippocampus.

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Department of Biology and Volen Center for Complex Systems, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA 02454, USA.


Recordings of rat hippocampal place cells have provided information about how the hippocampus retrieves memory sequences. One line of evidence has to do with phase precession, a process organized by theta and gamma oscillations. This precession can be interpreted as the cued prediction of the sequence of upcoming positions. In support of this interpretation, experiments in two-dimensional environments and on a cue-rich linear track demonstrate that many cells represent a position ahead of the animal and that this position is the same irrespective of which direction the rat is coming from. Other lines of investigation have demonstrated that such predictive processes also occur in the non-spatial domain and that retrieval can be internally or externally cued. The mechanism of sequence retrieval and the usefulness of this retrieval to guide behaviour are discussed.

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