MindTalks: From vision to navigation and back (Prof. Dr. Matteo Carandini)


Vision provides crucial guidance to navigation, and this guidance is a key function of the visual system. The communication between visual system and navigation system, however, appears to operate also in the opposite direction, with navigation strongly influencing vision. We recorded from populations of neurons in mice that navigate virtual environments and found modulation by spatial position in neurons throughout the visual cortex, including primary visual cortex (but not in its thalamic afferents). These navigational signals correlate with those in the hippocampus, and reflect the animal’s own estimate of position acquired through both vision and idiothetic cues. They are perhaps strongest in the parietal cortex, where cells respond to vision only during navigation. Position signals, therefore, appear remarkably early in the visual system and permeate its operation. Various properties of these signals, including modulation by hippocampal theta oscillations, suggest that they originate in the hippocampus or associated regions of the navigational system. This talk centers on work by Aman Saleem, Julien Fournier, and Mika Diamanti.


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