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Spatial Memory And Ability Notes

Psychology Notes > Individual Differences (2nd year) Notes

This is an extract of our Spatial Memory And Ability document, which we sell as part of our Individual Differences (2nd year) Notes collection written by the top tier of Durham University students.

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Spatial memory and ability
Place cells
Head direction cells
Boundary cells
Grid cells

Hpx proper
Presubiculum and entorhinal cortex
Subiculum and entorhinal cortex
Entorhinal cortex

Tell the animal where it is in a familiar environment
Tell the animal which direction it is pointing in
Tell how close it is to a boundary in a particular direction
Provide the metric for the map in some environments

Place cells
O'Keefe and Dostrovsky, 1971: found that cells fire relative to rat's position in space
Lever et al., 2002: found that all the places in the environment are represented so allows for the formation of a cognitive map for that environment
 Place cells firing together signal a specific location in a specific spatial context

Head direction cells
Map contains information about places connected by directions and distances
O'Keefe and Nadel, 1978: predicted that the hippocampus would contain directional information
Taube et al., 1990: found that the hippocampal formation contains cells that fire when the head is in a particular direction irrespective of location

Boundary cells
Barry et al., 2006: found that cells in entorhinal cortex and subicular cortex are exclusively tuned to spatial location

Respond to the presence of an environmental boundary at a particular distance and direction from organism

Grid cells
Hafting et al., 2005: found that each cell has a grid-like firing field which tessellates the whole environment

The basic unit of organisation in grid cells seems to be fields forming evenly-spaced equilateral triangles e.g. each cell represents the environment, but this is divided into equilateral triangles in each cell
 Based on self-motion cues, i.e. where I should be based on my movement

Maguire et al., 1998: asked subjects to take the shortest route from A to B after learning the layout of a virtual town, while hippocampal activity was measured using a PET Scanner
 Ps who gave accurate trajectory response had increased activity in right hippocampus

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