Constant Sub-second Cycling between Representations of Possible Futures in the Hippocampus

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Loren Frank

Professor at University of California, San Francisco

Field of Study: Biology , Published 10 Projects

Planning CA1 CA3 Decision Making Neuroscience

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Published in Cell, Feb 2020

Cognitive faculties such as imagination, planning, and decision-making entail the ability to represent hypothetical experience. Crucially, animal behavior in natural settings implies that the brain can represent hypothetical future experience not only quickly but also constantly over time, as external events continually unfold. To determine how this is possible, we recorded neural activity in the hippocampus of rats navigating a maze with multiple spatial paths. We found neural activity encoding two possible future scenarios (two upcoming maze paths) in constant alternation at 8 Hz: one scenario per ∼125-ms cycle. Further, we found that the underlying dynamics of cycling (both inter- and intra-cycle dynamics) generalized across qualitatively different representational correlates (location and direction). Notably, cycling occurred across moving behaviors, including during running. These findings identify a general dynamic process capable of quickly and continually representing hypothetical experience, including that of multiple possible futures.

Planning
Planning 1 Project
CA1
CA1 1 Project
CA3
CA3 1 Project
Decision Making
Decision Making 1 Project
Neuroscience
Neuroscience 52 Projects
Place Cells
Place Cells 3 Projects
CA2
CA2 1 Project
Theta Rhythm
Theta Rhythm 1 Project
Imagination
Imagination 1 Project
Hippocampus
Hippocampus 7 Projects
Synchrony
Synchrony 1 Project