Do Place Cells Dream of Deceptive Moves in a Signaling Game?

André A. Fenton, José R. Hurtado, Jantine A.C. Broek, Eun Hye Park, Bud Mishra

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


We consider the possibility of applying game theory to analysis and modeling of neurobiological systems. Specifically, the basic properties and features of information asymmetric signaling games are considered and discussed as having potential to explain diverse neurobiological phenomena; we focus on neuronal action potential discharge that can represent cognitive variables in memory and purposeful behavior. We begin by arguing that there is a pressing need for conceptual frameworks that can permit analysis and integration of information and explanations across many scales of biological function including gene regulation, molecular and biochemical signaling, cellular and metabolic function, neuronal population, and systems level organization to generate plausible hypotheses across these scales. Developing such integrative frameworks is crucial if we are to understand cognitive functions like learning, memory, and perception. The present work focuses on systems neuroscience organized around the connected brain regions of the entorhinal cortex and hippocampus. These areas are intensely studied in rodent subjects as model neuronal systems that undergo activity-dependent synaptic plasticity to form neuronal circuits and represent memories and spatial knowledge used for purposeful navigation. Examples of cognition-related spatial information in the observed neuronal discharge of hippocampal place cell populations and medial entorhinal head-direction cell populations are used to illustrate possible challenges to information maximization concepts. It may be natural to explain these observations using the ideas and features of information asymmetric signaling games.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-147
Number of pages19
StatePublished - Oct 1 2023


  • cell assemblies
  • entorhinal cortex
  • game theory
  • hippocampus
  • information Asymmetry
  • navigation
  • spatial cognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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