Representing Space in the Brain: Insights from Direct Recordings of Human Place and Grid Cells

Summary

Date: 
March 25, 2014 - 12:00pm
Location: 
William James Hall 765
About the Speaker
Name: 
Joshua Jacobs (Drexel)

The ability to remember spatial environments is critical for everyday life.  My research examines how the human brain supports spatial navigation and memory via the firing patterns of single neurons in the medial temporal lobe.  This research confirms findings from animals that humans keep track of their location with "place" and "grid" cells in the hippocampus and entorhinal cortex.  In addition, my work demonstrates novel features of human spatial representations, such as the existence of direction-encoding "path" cells and the ability to reinstate spatial information outside of navigation.  Understanding the neuronal representation of space is not only useful because it provides a neuron-level explanation of how humans navigate, but also because it informs how the brain supports non-spatial behaviors like episodic memory.