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Neural Systems for Navigation

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Much is known about how neural systems determine current spatial position and orientation in the environment. By contrast little is understood about how the brain represents future goal locations or computes the distance and direction to such goals. Recent electrophysiology, computational modelling and neuroimaging research has shed new light on how the spatial relationship to a goal may be determined and represented during navigation. This research suggests that the hippocampus may code the path to the goal while the entorhinal cortex represents the vector to the goal. It also reveals that the engagement of the hippocampus and entorhinal cortex varies across the different operational stages of navigation, such as during travel, route planning, and decision-making at waypoints.

Bio: Dr Spiers uses human neuroimaging and rodent single unit recording to explore the neural mechanisms of spatial cognition and memory. He is a senior lecturer in the Department of Experimental Psychology at UCL and directs a research group in the UCL Institute of Behavioural Neuroscience.

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