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Curr Opin Neurobiol. 1996 Apr;6(2):196-206.

Head direction cells: properties and functional significance.

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Department of Physiology, SUNY Health Science Center at Brooklyn 11203, USA.


The strong signal carried by head direction cells in the postsubiculum complements the positional signal carried by hippocampal place cells; together, the directional and positional signals provide the information necessary to permit rats to generate and carry out intelligent, efficient solutions to spatial problems. Our opinion is that the hippocampal positional system acts as a cognitive map and that the role of the directional system is to put the map into register with the environment. In this way, paths found using the map can be properly executed. Head direction cells have recently been discovered in parts of the thalamus reciprocally connected with the postsubiculum; such cells provide important clues to the organization of the directional system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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