Conjoint control of hippocampal place cell firing by two visual stimuli: II. A vector-field theory that predicts modifications of the representation of the environment

A. A. Fenton, G. Csizmadia, R. U. Muller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Changing the angular separation between two visual stimuli attached to the wall of a recording cylinder causes the firing fields of place cells to move relative to each other, as though the representation of the floor undergoes a topological distortion. The displacement of the firing field center of each cell is a vector whose length is equal to the linear displacement and whose angle indicates the direction that the field center moves in the environment. Based on the observation that neighboring fields move in similar ways, whereas widely separated fields tend to move relative to each other, we develop an empirical vector-field model that accounts for the stated effects of changing the card separation. We then go on to show that the same vector-field equation predicts additional aspects of the experimental results. In one example, we demonstrate that place cell firing fields undergo distortions of shape after the card separation is changed, as though different parts of the same field are affected by the stimulus constellation in the same fashion as fields at different locations. We conclude that the vector-field formalism reflects the organization of the place-cell representation of the environment for the current case, and through suitable modification may be very useful for describing motions of firing patterns induced by a wide variety of stimulus manipulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-221
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of General Physiology
Volume116
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2000

Keywords

  • Cognitive maps
  • Place fields
  • Stimulus control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology

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