Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Elife. 2016 Aug 30;5. pii: e17089. doi: 10.7554/eLife.17089.

Grid-cell representations in mental simulation.

Author information

1
Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
2
Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience and Centre for Neural Computation, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway.
3
Department of Neuropsychology, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, Ruhr University Bochum, Bochum, Germany.

Abstract

Anticipating the future is a key motif of the brain, possibly supported by mental simulation of upcoming events. Rodent single-cell recordings suggest the ability of spatially tuned cells to represent subsequent locations. Grid-like representations have been observed in the human entorhinal cortex during virtual and imagined navigation. However, hitherto it remains unknown if grid-like representations contribute to mental simulation in the absence of imagined movement. Participants imagined directions between building locations in a large-scale virtual-reality city while undergoing fMRI without re-exposure to the environment. Using multi-voxel pattern analysis, we provide evidence for representations of absolute imagined direction at a resolution of 30° in the parahippocampal gyrus, consistent with the head-direction system. Furthermore, we capitalize on the six-fold rotational symmetry of grid-cell firing to demonstrate a 60° periodic pattern-similarity structure in the entorhinal cortex. Our findings imply a role of the entorhinal grid-system in mental simulation and future thinking beyond spatial navigation.

KEYWORDS:

fMRI; grid cells; human; imagination; navigation; neuroscience; planning; spatial cognition

PMID:
27572056
PMCID:
PMC5005038
DOI:
10.7554/eLife.17089
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for eLife Sciences Publications, Ltd Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center