Do Grid Cells Drive Place Cells?

Poster: Hippocampal remapping involves competition between entorhinal inputs – SfN Tuesday Morning: 576.20

Authors: J. Dickinson, A. Weible, D. Rowland, C. Kentros

Place cells are recorded in CA1 and CA3 fields of the hippocampus. The major afferents to the hippocampus come from entorhinal cortex. When grid cells were first described in recordings from layer 2 of medial entorhinal cortex it was largely assumed that place cell patterns arose from through a summation of grid cell inputs.  Continue reading


Head-Direction Cell Assembies have Attractor Properties During Locomotion and Sleep

Poster: Organization of the neuronal assemblies in the anterior thalamus coding for head direction   326.14 (Mon Morning)
Authors: A. Peyrache, M. Lacorix, P. Petersen, G. Buzsaki; NYU

Head-direction cells are neurons that fire when ever a rat’s head is pointed in a particular direction. Discovered by Jim Ranck and first reported at SfN 29 years ago today’s findings are a major update, confirming and extending the cohesive properties of head-direction cell networks.

Continue reading

Passive Versus Active Movement in Grid Cells and Head Direction Cells

Poster: Passive Transport Disrupts Grid Cell Firing Patterns. Shawn Winter and Jeff Taube.

rat in cartBoth Grid Cells and Head Direction Cells are thought to be path integrators. That is, each cell type is thought to be driven as a function of the animal’s movement. For head-direction cells firing is thought to be driven by rotational movement; for grid cells a combination of rotation and translation. There are distinct sources of self-movement information: motor action plans, proprioception, and feedback from the environment. Winter and Taube sought to dissect these by removing “action plans” (and some proprioception) by comparing firing in these cell types during passive and active movement. Continue reading

How Cognitive Processing is Implemented at Pixar

photo 3Ed Catmull’s lecture.

Each year SfN invites a prominent non-neuroscientist to speak in the series: Dialog Between Neuroscience and Society.  These talks are given on the first day of the meeting, in large, ballroom format. Today’s dialog was given by Ed Catmull, a trained mathematician-physicist whose career has been in developing computer-animation techniques and producing great pictures. Dr. Catmull is president of Pixar the animation component at Disney Pictures. Pixar made Toy Story, the first full-length computer-animated film. Toy Story was, of course, a huge creative and financial success.  It has been followed by a string of animated films remarkable in their complexity, creativity and financial returns. How was this done? How can a huge team work for years with one goal, to create a single creative product? What’s the magic formula?  Dr. Catmull suggested some answers in his lecture, “The Culture of Creativity“. Continue reading