Neural Signals for Memory and Space in the Primate Medial Temporal Lobe
Decades of research in rodents, monkeys, and humans have identified a system of structures in the medial temporal lobe that support memory formation. At the same time, a largely parallel line of research has identified neurons in these same medial temporal lobe regions that demonstrate exquisite spatial representations in the form of place cells, head direction cells, and grid cells. The relationship between spatial and mnemonic signals in these regions is currently an area of intense investigation. Our lab uses neurophysiological techniques in awake behaving monkeys to identify how changes in neuronal activity correlate with the monkey's ability to learn and remember. Currently, we are exploring what kind of spatial representations exist in the primate medial temporal lobe and how these spatial signals contribute to memory formation. In my talk, I will discuss recent findings from my laboratory which identify neural signals related to visual exploration and navigation, and I will discuss how representations of space and memory contribute to a cognitive map in the medial temporal lobe.