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Hippocampal lesions disrupt navigation based on cognitive maps but not heading vectors

Pearce, John M., Roberts, A. D. L. and Good, Mark Andrew 1998. Hippocampal lesions disrupt navigation based on cognitive maps but not heading vectors. Nature 396 (6706) , pp. 75-77. 10.1038/23941

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Animals can find a hidden goal in several ways. They might use a cognitive map that encodes information about the geometric relationship between the goal and two or more landmarks1. Alternatively, they might use a heading vector that specifies the direction and distance of the goal from a single landmark2. Rats with damage to the hippocampus have difficulty in finding a hidden goal3. Here we determine which of the above strategies is affected by such damage. Rats were required to swim in a water maze to a submerged platform, which was always at the same distance and direction from a landmark. The platform and landmark remained in the same place for the four trials of each session, but they were moved to a new position at the start of a session4. Rats with damage to the hippocampus found the platform more efficiently than did normal rats in the first trial of a session but, in contrast to normal rats, their performance did not improve during a session. Our results indicate that hippocampally damaged rats are able to navigate by means of heading vectors but not cognitive maps.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
ISSN: 0028-0836
Last Modified: 09 Jul 2020 14:17

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