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Why People Get LostThe Psychology and Neuroscience of Spatial Cognition$
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Paul Dudchenko

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199210862

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199210862.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 19 October 2021

The neural basis for a sense of direction: head direction neurons

The neural basis for a sense of direction: head direction neurons

(p.191) Chapter 8 The neural basis for a sense of direction: head direction neurons
Why People Get Lost

Paul A. Dudchenko

Oxford University Press

This chapter opens with a description of the discovery of head direction cells. It also describes grid cells — a remarkable type of spatially tuned neuron that fires in a grid-like pattern within any environment. Next the anatomy of the head direction/grid cell circuit is described. Following this, the basic properties of head direction cells are summarised. Like place cells and grid cells, the spatial orientation of head direction cells is anchored to visual landmarks in the environment when these are available. In some instances, spatial behaviour and the behaviour of head direction cells is correlated. Head direction firing also reflects path integration, and head direction cells maintain their specific direction across connected environments. However, this integration is prone to error, and the accumulation of such error may underlie misorientation.

Keywords:   head direction cells, grid cells, spatial orientation, path integration, spatial behaviour

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