Summary: Journal of Computational Neuroscience, 4, 7994 (1997)
c 1997 Kluwer Academic Publishers, Boston. Manufactured in The Netherlands.
Learning Navigational Maps Through Potentiation and Modulation
of Hippocampal Place Cells
AND L.F. ABBOTT
Volen Center for Complex Systems, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA 02254-9110
Received February 23, 1996; Revised August 7, 1996; Accepted August 15, 1996
Action Editor: Roger Traub
Abstract. We analyze a model of navigational map formation based on correlation-based, temporally asymmetric
potentiation and depression of synapses between hippocampal place cells. We show that synaptic modification
during random exploration of an environment shifts the location encoded by place cell activity in such a way that
it indicates the direction from any location to a fixed target avoiding walls and other obstacles. Multiple maps to
different targets can be simultaneously stored if we introduce target-dependent modulation of place cell activity.
Once maps to a number of target locations in a given environment have been stored, novel maps to previously
unknown target locations are automatically constructed by interpolation between existing maps.
Keywords: maps, hippocampus, synaptic plasticity, population coding
The presence of cells in the hippocampus of the rat