Corpus ID: 107226436

Neural compass or epiphenomenon? Experimental and theoretical investigations into the rodent head direction cell system

  title={Neural compass or epiphenomenon? Experimental and theoretical investigations into the rodent head direction cell system},
  author={Matthijs A. A. van der Meer},
How does the brain convert sensory information into abstract representations that can support complex behaviours? The rodent head-direction (HD) system, whose cell ensembles represent head direction in the horizontal plane, is a striking example of a “cognitive” representation without a direct sensory correlate. It can be updated by sensory inputs from different modalities, yet persists in the absence of external input. Together with cells tuned for place, the HD system is thought to be… Expand
The Head Direction Cell System and Behavior: The Effects of Lesions to the Lateral Mammillary Bodies on Spatial Memory in a Novel Landmark Task and in the Water Maze
The results suggest that the LMN, and potentially the head direction cell system, are not essential for the use of visual landmarks to guide spatial behavior. Expand
The head direction cell system and behavior
Publisher Rights Statement: This article has been published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use,Expand


Emergence of neural integration in the head-direction system by visual supervision
It is concluded that selective amplification could serve as a general principle for the synaptic development of multimodal feedback circuits in the brain. Expand
Head direction cells and the neurophysiological basis for a sense of direction
  • J. Taube
  • Psychology, Medicine
  • Progress in Neurobiology
  • 1998
It is concluded that studying the neural mechanisms underlying the HD signal provides an excellent opportunity for understanding how the mammalian nervous system processes a high level cognitive signal. Expand
Dead Reckoning, Landmark Learning, and the Sense of Direction: A Neurophysiological and Computational Hypothesis
A hypothesis is proposed in which the integration process is replaced by a linear associative mapping, an operation that is at least theoretically easy to implement with neurons, and visual landmarks become incorporated into the directional system, enabling the correction of cumulative error and the computation of novel, optimal trajectories between locations. Expand
The neural correlates of navigation: do head direction and place cells guide spatial behavior?
  • G. Muir, J. Taube
  • Psychology, Medicine
  • Behavioral and cognitive neuroscience reviews
  • 2002
The results of these studies are consistent with the notion that behavior and perceived orientation can be independently controlled by different cues but, under certain conditions, are controlled by the same cue(s). Expand
Preferential use of the landmark navigational system by head direction cells in rats.
Results showed that when a salient, familiar cue was reintroduced to rat's environment into a position that conflicted with the cell's current firing direction, HD cells in both the ATN and the postsubiculum shifted their preferred direction to reflect their originally established orientation with this cue. Expand
Influence of conflicting visual, inertial and substratal cues on head direction cell activity
Results indicate that visual cues exerted a strong but incomplete control over the preferred directions of the neurons, while inertial cues had a small but significant influence, and substratal cues were of no consequence. Expand
Processing the head direction cell signal: A review and commentary
Both the electrophysiological and anatomical data suggest that the anterior thalamic nuclei and/or the lateral mammillary nuclei may be the sites of convergence for spatial information derived from landmarks and internally-generated cues. Expand
Angular Path Integration by Moving “Hill of Activity”: A Spiking Neuron Model without Recurrent Excitation of the Head-Direction System
An LMN-DTN network model that consists of three populations of noisy and spiking neurons coupled by biophysically realistic synapses is built and it is found that a combination of uniform external excitation and recurrent cross-inhibition can give rise to direction-selective persistent activity. Expand
Double-ring network model of the head-direction system.
This paper proposes a different integration model with two populations of neurons, which performs integration based on the differential input of the vestibular nuclei to these two populations, and demonstrates that with carefully tuned synaptic connections it can accurately integrate a large range of the Vestibular input, with potentially slow synapses. Expand
Deciphering the hippocampal polyglot: the hippocampus as a path integration system.
A hypothesis of how the path integration system may operate at the neuronal level is proposed, and it appears that viewpoint-specific visual information becomes secondarily bound to this structure by associative learning. Expand