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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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A role for the hippocampus in dead reckoning: an ethological analysis using natural exploratory and food-carrying tasks

A role for the hippocampus in dead reckoning: an ethological analysis using natural exploratory and food-carrying tasks

Chapter:
(p.31) Chapter 2 A role for the hippocampus in dead reckoning: an ethological analysis using natural exploratory and food-carrying tasks
Source:
The Neurobiology of Spatial Behaviour
Author(s):

Douglas G. Wallace

Dustin J. Hines

Joanna H. Gorny

Ian Q. Whishaw

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198515241.003.0002

This chapter considers an ethological approach to the investigation of path integration by exploring a laboratory homing task, on a holeboard maze, that mimics the natural foraging conditions of wild rats. It also raises the intriguing suggestion that the hippocampus has a specialized role in integrating vestibular signals with information coming from other sensory sources. In addition, it is proposed that dead reckoning is involved in the everyday behaviour of animals. It is shown that the hippocampus may be involved in dead reckoning. Data indicate that by providing a network for computing direction and distance, signals from other sensory systems could be coupled to a vestibular code to assist in dead reckoning and piloting. Moreover, it is believed that it is possible that dead reckoning can bridge new problem-solving that appears to depend upon piloting. In general, an ethological model of spatial behaviour in which dead reckoning plays a central role in allowing an animal to determine its present position, to return to a starting position, and to solve new spatial problems is proposed.

Keywords:   hippocampus, foraging, rats, dead reckoning, path integration, spatial behaviour, piloting, ethological model, vestibular code

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