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The role of the hippocampus in navigation is memory

The role of the hippocampus in navigation is memory

The following title is included in this week's posted papers focussing on navigation and orientation.

Summaries of all papers have been circulated to members of the Animal Navigation Forum and full papers are available in the ANG Resources directory at the link below (available to non-members).

Eichenbaum, H. 2017 The role of the hippocampus in navigation is memory. Journal of Neurophysiology. doi: 10.1152/jn.00005.2017. Eichenbaum5 2017

There is considerable research on the neurobiological mechanisms within the hippocampal system that support spatial navigation. Here I review the literature on navigational strategies in humans and animals, observations on hippocampal function in navigation, and studies of hippocampal neural activity in animals and humans performing different navigational tasks and tests of memory. While the hippocampus is essential to spatial navigation via a cognitive map, its role derives from the relational organization and flexibility of cognitive maps and not from a selective role in the spatial domain. Correspondingly, hippocampal networks map multiple navigational strategies, as well as other spatial and non-spatial memories and knowledge domains that share an emphasis on relational organization. These observations suggest that the hippocampal system is not dedicated to spatial cognition and navigation, but organizes experiences in memory, for which spatial mapping and navigation are both a metaphor for and a prominent application of relational memory organization.

  • 15 February 2017
  • Animal Navigation Group

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