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Decoding the Population Activity of Grid Cells for Spatial Localization and Goal-Directed Navigation

CSH. http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/021204

Authors/Editors: Stemmler M
Mathis A
Herz AVM
Publication Date: 2015
Type of Publication: Journal Articles 2001 - 2017

Abstract

Mammalian grid cells fire whenever an animal crosses the points of an imaginary, hexagonal grid tessellating the environment. Here, we show how animals can localize themselves and navigate by reading-out a simple population vector of grid cell activity across multiple scales, even though this activity is intrinsically stochastic. This theory of dead reckoning explains why grid cells are organized into modules with equal lattice scale and orientation. Computing the homing vector is least error-prone when the ratio of successive grid scales is around 3/2. Silencing intermediate-scale modules should cause systematic errors in navigation, while knocking out the module at the smallest scale will only affect navigational precision. Read-out neurons should behave like goal-vector cells subject to nonlinear gain fields.

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