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The Neurobiology of Spatial Behaviour$
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K.J. Jeffery

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780198515241

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198515241.001.0001

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Reading cognitive and other maps: how to avoid getting buried in thought

Reading cognitive and other maps: how to avoid getting buried in thought

(p.259) Chapter 14 Reading cognitive and other maps: how to avoid getting buried in thought
The Neurobiology of Spatial Behaviour

Robert Biegler

Oxford University Press

This chapter takes a theoretical look at the question of how a place cell ensemble could be of functional use to an animal. It illustrates that representing one's own location is just the start of the navigational process, and that focusing on the processing steps can reconcile three different theoretical approaches to the study of animal behaviour. It also compares three models of navigation that can use exactly the same representation of the animal's own location, yet use it in very different ways, leading to very different behavioural capacities. The three models compared here all store information by altering the strengths of connections between ‘units’ (presumed to be neurons). As this chapter shows, for a given representation of the animal's own location (in, e.g. the place cell map) and a given set of learning rules, different mechanisms for storing, retrieving, and using the representation could produce radically different behaviour. The three theoretical approaches capture many relevant aspects of the possible basis of spatial behaviour.

Keywords:   spatial behaviour, place cell, navigation, learning rules, cognitive maps, animal behaviour, location

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