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Behav Neurosci. 1996 Aug;110(4):643-60.

Visual and vestibular influences on head-direction cells in the anterior thalamus of the rat.

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Department of Psychology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06520-8205, USA.


As a rat navigates through space, head-direction cells provide an ongoing signal of its momentary directional heading. This directional signal is thought to be generated, in part, by a dead-reckoning mechanism that uses angular motion information to constantly update the directional representation. This study investigated what kinds of angular motion information might be used for dead reckoning. Anterior thalamic head-direction cells were recorded from rats in a rotatable, cylindrical chamber, which could independently deliver visual motion cues and vestibular cues. Results suggest that both of these angular motion cues have an influence on head-direction cells and may thus be used for dead reckoning. The authors conclude that vestibular and visual movement cues work interactively, along with visual landmarks and motor signals, to determine the directional frame of reference.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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