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J Neurosci. 2014 Feb 5;34(6):2314-20. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2202-13.2014.

Structural differences in hippocampal and prefrontal gray matter volume support flexible context-dependent navigation ability.

Author information

1
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences and Conte Center for Memory and Brain, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts 02215 and Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown, Massachusetts 02129.

Abstract

Spatial navigation is a fundamental part of daily life. Humans differ in their individual abilities to flexibly navigate their world, and a critical question is how this variability relates to differences in underlying brain structure. Our experiment examined individual differences in the ability to flexibly navigate routes that overlap with, and must be distinguished from, previously learned trajectories. We related differences in flexible navigation performance to differences in brain morphology in healthy young adults using voxel-based morphometry. Our findings provide novel evidence that individual differences in gray matter volume in the hippocampus and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex correlate with our ability rapidly to learn and flexibly navigate routes through our world.

PMID:
24501370
PMCID:
PMC3913873
DOI:
10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2202-13.2014
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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