A goal direction signal in the human entorhinal/subicular region.
Bottom Line: Navigating to a safe place, such as a home or nest, is a fundamental behavior for all complex animals.We applied multivoxel pattern analysis to these data and found that the human entorhinal/subicular region contains a neural representation of intended goal direction.Our data further revealed that the strength of direction information predicts performance.
Affiliation: Institute of Behavioural Neuroscience, Department of Experimental Psychology, Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, University College London, 26 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AP, UK.Show MeSH
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Mentions: We applied multivoxel pattern analysis (MVPA) to fMRI data collected while participants (n = 16) made a series of goal direction judgments. All subjects gave informed written consent in accordance with the local research ethics committee. MVPA has been shown to be sensitive to specific neural representations in various domains [3–5], including place coding , scene coding [17–19], and facing direction [20–22]. It is therefore plausible that this approach may be able to detect neural representations related to simulation of future goal heading. Prior to scanning, participants learned the spatial layout of a simple virtual environment (Figures 1A and 1B) by freely moving around within it. The environment consisted of four objects placed at the corners of four paths arranged in a square. Each of the four distant edges of the environment consisted of a distinct scene in order to clearly differentiate the four cardinal directions. During scanning, participants were required to make goal direction decisions based on their memory of this environment (Figure 1C). Very high performance levels (mean 97% accuracy) indicated that participants were successfully able to engage goal direction systems (for more details on experimental design and methods, see Supplemental Information available online).
Affiliation: Institute of Behavioural Neuroscience, Department of Experimental Psychology, Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, University College London, 26 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AP, UK.