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Neuron. 2011 Aug 25;71(4):589-603. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2011.07.023.

Computational models of grid cells.

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Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience and Centre for the Biology of Memory, Medical Technical Research Centre, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, 7030 Trondheim, Norway.


Grid cells are space-modulated neurons with periodic firing fields. In moving animals, the multiple firing fields of an individual grid cell form a triangular pattern tiling the entire space available to the animal. Collectively, grid cells are thought to provide a context-independent metric representation of the local environment. Since the discovery of grid cells in 2005, a number of models have been proposed to explain the formation of spatially repetitive firing patterns as well as the conversion of these signals to place signals one synapse downstream in the hippocampus. The present article reviews the most recent developments in our understanding of how grid patterns are generated, maintained, and transformed, with particular emphasis on second-generation computational models that have emerged during the past 2-3 years in response to criticism and new data.

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