Changes in Goal Selection Induced by Cue Conflicts Are in Register With Predictions From Changes in Place Cell Field Locations

John L. Kubie, Andre Fenton, Nicolay Novikov, David Touretzky, Robert U. Muller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In the cognitive mapping theory of hippocampal function, currently active place cells represent a rat's spatial location (J. O'Keefe & L. Nadel, 1978). A systematic shift of firing field locations should therefore produce a similar shift in a rat's judgment of its location. A. A. Fenton, G. Csizmadia, and R. U. Muller (2000a) recorded place cells in cylinders with 2 cue cards separated by 135°. When the separation was changed, firing fields moved systematically, as described by a vector-field equation (A. A. Fenton, G. Csizmadia, & R. U. Muller, 2000b). Given this cohesive movement of firing fields, the mapping theory predicts that a rat's decisions about the location of an unmarked goal should move after card separation changes, as described by the vector-field equation. The authors tested this reasoning with a task in which the rat earned a food reward by pausing in a small, unmarked goal zone. When cues were shifted in the absence of reward, goal choice shifts were accurately predicted by the vector-field equation, providing strong support for the notion that a rat's judgment of its spatial location is intimately related to the across-cell discharge pattern of simultaneously active place cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)751-763
Number of pages13
JournalBehavioral Neuroscience
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2007



  • accuracy
  • hippocampus
  • navigation
  • place cell
  • spatial behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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