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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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Studies of the neural basis of human navigation and memory

Studies of the neural basis of human navigation and memory

(p.144) Chapter 8 Studies of the neural basis of human navigation and memory
The Neurobiology of Spatial Behaviour

Tom Hartley

John A. King

Neil Burgess

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores spatial navigation in humans, but it goes a step further and argues that a system also forms the basis for the human capacity for episodic memory. It discusses some attempts to establish the biological bases of navigation and spatial memory in humans. It also outlines a few key findings from animal experiments which provide physiological evidence for the location and function of allocentric representations in the mammalian brain. The discussion of the neural basis of human spatial memory starts by looking at its role in small-scale spatial behaviour. It then addresses experiments on human navigation in larger-scale space — which brain regions are involved in finding one's way about a large-scale environment? Next, it deals with the association between spatial and more general episodic memory, considering evidence of functional lateralization and speculating about processes that might be common to topographical and episodic memory and which could thus explain their shared dependence on the hippocampus. The studies of human navigation and memory indicate a surprisingly close relationship between the neural bases of spatial and general mnemonic processes.

Keywords:   neural basis, spatial navigation, spatial memory, humans, hippocampus, spatial behaviour, episodic memory

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