Attention-like modulation of hippocampus place cell discharge

André A. Fenton, William W. Lytton, Jeremy M. Barry, Pierre Pascal Lenck-Santini, Larissa E. Zinyuk, Štepan Kubík, Jan Bureš, Bruno Poucet, Robert U. Muller, Andrey V. Olypher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hippocampus place cell discharge is an important model system for understanding cognition, but evidence is missing that the place code is under the kind of dynamic attentional control characterized in primates as selective activation of one neural representation and suppression of another, competing representation. We investigated the apparent noise ("overdispersion") in the CAl place code, hypothesizing that overdispersion results from discharge fluctuations as spatial attention alternates between distal cues and local/self-motion cues. The hypothesis predicts that: (1) preferential use of distal cues will decrease overdispersion; (2) global, attention-like states can be decoded from ensemble discharge such that both the discharge rates and the spatial firing patterns of individual cells will be distinct in the two states; (3) identifying attention-like states improves reconstructions of the rat's path from ensemble discharge. These predictions were confirmed, implying that a covert, dynamic attention-like process modulates discharge on a ∼1 s time scale. We conclude the hippocampus place code is a dynamic representation of the spatial information in the immediate focus of attention

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4613-4625
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number13
StatePublished - Mar 31 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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