Establishing the boundaries: the hippocampal contribution to imagining scenes

Bird, Chris M, Capponi, Corinne, King, John A, Doeller, Christian F and Burgess, Neil (2010) Establishing the boundaries: the hippocampal contribution to imagining scenes. Journal of Neuroscience, 30 (35). pp. 11688-11695. ISSN 1529-2401

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Abstract

When we visualize scenes, either from our own past or invented, we impose a viewpoint for our “mind's eye” and we experience the resulting image as spatially coherent from that viewpoint. The hippocampus has been implicated in this process, but its precise contribution is unknown. We tested a specific hypothesis based on the spatial firing properties of neurons in the hippocampal formation of rats, that this region supports the construction of spatially coherent mental images by representing the locations of the environmental boundaries surrounding our viewpoint. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we show that hippocampal activation increases parametrically with the number of enclosing boundaries in the imagined scene. In contrast, hippocampal activity is not modulated by a nonspatial manipulation of scene complexity nor to increasing difficulty of imagining the scenes in general. Our findings identify a specific computational role for the hippocampus in mental imagery and episodic recollection.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Chris Bird
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 15:38
Last Modified: 13 Mar 2017 23:28
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/13661

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