Spatial processing in the brain: the activity of hippocampal place cells.

  title={Spatial processing in the brain: the activity of hippocampal place cells.},
  author={Phillip J. Best and Amanda M. White and A. Minai},
  journal={Annual review of neuroscience},
The startling discovery by O'Keefe & Dostrovsky (Brain Res. 1971; 34: 171-75) that hippocampal neurons fire selectively in different regions or "place fields" of an environment and the subsequent development of the comprehensive theory by O'Keefe & Nadel (The Hippocampus as a Cognitive Map. Oxford, UK: Clarendon, 1978) that the hippocampus serves as a cognitive map have stimulated a substantial body of literature on the characteristics of hippocampal "place cells" and their relevance for our… 

Figures from this paper

Introduction: A Neural Systems Approach to Space, Time, and Memory in the Hippocampal Formation

In the span of 19 years between 1957 and 1976, three discoveries catapulted the hippocampus and medial temporal lobe to the forefront of research on the neural mechanisms of learning and memory, creating one of the most important systems for understanding cognition at the level of neural circuitry and systems.

Hippocampal place cells: The “where” of episodic memory?

This review seeks to examine the commonalities between place cells and episodic memory, and posits that an analogy can be made between the stabilization of place fields and the consolidation of memory.

Spatial memory and hippocampal function: where are we now?

The main aim of this paper is to provide an overview of current debates concerning the role of the mammalian hippocampus in learning with a particular emphasis on spatial learning. The review

Time, Space and Hippocampal Functions

  • C. Hölscher
  • Biology, Psychology
    Reviews in the neurosciences
  • 2003
Evidence is presented from many different studies that the hippocampus is part of this system and plays a supportive role in associating complex multimodal information and laying down new memory traces and it is proposed that information processing and memory formation is shared by several brain areas that act as a functional system.


A novel experimental paradigm in which the rat runs on a moving-treadmill linear track is used to investigate the relative contribution of interoceptive and exteroceptive cues for determining place cell spatial selectivity and finds that self-motion information is a key input to place cells.

Gamma synchronization of the hippocampal spatial map---topological model

It is demonstrated that gamma-modulation of neuronal activity generates a synchronized spiking of dynamical cell assemblies, which enables learning a spatial map at faster timescales.

NMDA receptors, place cells and hippocampal spatial memory

The data that have emerged from in vivo hippocampal recording studies that indicate that the activity of hippocampal place cells during behaviour is an expression of a memory trace are discussed.

Directing Neural Representations of Space

The study of the neurobiology of spatial navigation provides a neural model for a complex form of learning that is likely to be highly conserved across evolution and allow animals to flexibly adapt to ever changing environmental demands.

Geometry of Spatial Memory Replay

A model that can account for this phenomenon is proposed and suggests that a spatially consistent replay requires a number of constraints on the hippocampal network that affect its synaptic architecture and the statistics of synaptic connection strengths.

Reconceiving the hippocampal map as a topological template

It is tested that the hippocampal place cells may ultimately be interested in a space's topological qualities more than its geometry; such higher-order functioning would be more consistent with other known hippocampal functions.



A Model of Spatial Map Formation in the Hippocampus of the Rat

Using experimental facts about long-term potentiation (LTP) and hippocampal place cells, this model demonstrates how behaviorally generated modifications of synaptic strengths can be read out to affect subsequent behavior and suggests a way that navigational maps can be constructed from experimental recordings of hippocampus.

Geometric determinants of the place fields of hippocampal neurons

The identification of the environmental features controlling the location and shape of the receptive fields (place fields) of the place cells is reported, and a model in which the place field is formed by the summation of gaussian tuning curves.

Attractor neural network models of spatial maps in hippocampus

A theory of the hippocampus is described, according to which the map results from the cooperative dynamics of network, in which the strength of synaptic interaction between the neurons depends on the distance between their place fields.

Beyond the Cognitive Map: From Place Cells to Episodic Memory

David Redish draws on the extensive experimental and theoretical work of the last 100 years to paint a coherent picture of rodent navigation and proposes a novel understanding of the role of the hippocampus in rodents that can shed light on the role on primate studies and human neurology.

Theta phase precession in hippocampal neuronal populations and the compression of temporal sequences

Large‐scale parallel recordings are made use of to clarify and extend the finding that a cell's spike activity advances to earlier phases of the theta cycle as the rat passes through the cell's place field, and to show Granule cells of the fascia dentata are also modulated by theta.

Computer simulation of hippocampal place cells

A model in which pyramidal cells are the output layer of a competitive-learning, pattern-classification device and patterns of environmental stimuli as viewed by a computerized “rat” from various locations within a simulated environment is presented.

A simple network model simulates hippocampal place fields: parametric analyses and physiological predictions.

A network model trained to compute locations from distal cues simulated the defining properties of hippocampal place cells (i.e., place-specific activation), producing units with detailed properties of place cells, including multiple subfields, "silent" and "noisy" cells, fields that persisted after cue removal, and groups of simulated fields that overlapped in multiple clusters.

Spatial correlates of firing patterns of single cells in the subiculum of the freely moving rat

  • P. SharpC. Green
  • Biology, Psychology
    The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience
  • 1994
The results suggest that the subiculum transmits a robust, highly distributed spatial signal to each of its projection areas, and that this signal is transmitted in both a bursting and nonbursting mode.

A model of hippocampal function