JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY: Rats in augmented reality help show how the brain determines location
Johns Hopkins University issued the following announcement on Feb. 11.
Before the age of GPS, humans had to orient themselves without on-screen arrows pointing down an exact street, but rather, by memorizing landmarks and using learned relationships among time, speed, and distance. They had to know, for instance, that 10 minutes of brisk walking might equate to half a mile traveled.
A new Johns Hopkins study found that rats' ability to recalibrate these learned relationships is ever-evolving, moment-by-moment. The findings, published in Nature, provide insight on how the brain creates a map inside one's head.
"The hippocampus and neighboring regions in the brain help us figure out where we are in the world," says Manu Madhav, a postdoctoral associate in the Johns Hopkins Zanvyl Krieger Mind/Brain Institute and one of the study's primary authors. "By studying the firing patterns of neurons in these areas, we can better understand how we map our location."
The brain receives two types of cues that aid in this mapping; the first is external landmarks, like the pink house at the end of the street or a discolored floor tile that a person remembers to mark a certain location or distance.
Original source can be found here.
Source: Johns Hopkins University