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Cognitive Science Seminar Series

Alexander Johnson, Research Fellow, Department of Psychology
Monday, September 26, 2022
2:30-3:50 PM
955 Weiser Hall Map
Giving Structure to the Cognitive Map

The cognitive map within the minds of animals is the mental process of perceiving and arranging relevant environmental features upon which behavioral decision making processes can be built (Tolman 1948). The previous 5-decades have seen investigation of the neural processes that underlie animals’ ability to cognitively map spaces primarily through recording the electrical activity of neurons as animals navigate a physical space (O’Keefe 1974). Among the most prominent features of the cognitive mapping system within the brain are the discovery of place cells which respond to an animals’ specific location in space, and lay the foundation of seeing the hippocampus as being foundational to the cognitive map (O’Keefe & Nadel 1978).

Recently more attention has been placed on how the cognitive mapping system of the brain encodes for structural features (Behrens et al. 2018). However, little research has gone into how structural features directly interact with spatial representations of the hippocampal system. Data presented here demonstrates that while CA1 place-representations are relatively unimpacted by the structure of the space the animal is in, one synapse away in dorsal subiculum, a mapping of structure emerges within the activity patterns of individual and populations of neurons. These results show the importance of environmental structure when studying spatial navigation, and helps elucidate the relatively understudied brain region of the subiculum.
Building: Weiser Hall
Event Type: Lecture / Discussion
Tags: Cognitive Science, Graduate Students, Linguistics, Psychology
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Weinberg Institute for Cognitive Science, Department of Linguistics