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Direct recordings of grid-like neuronal activity in human spatial navigation


Grid cells in the entorhinal cortex appear to represent spatial location via a triangular coordinate system. Such cells, which have been identified in rats, bats and monkeys, are believed to support a wide range of spatial behaviors. Recording neuronal activity from neurosurgical patients performing a virtual-navigation task, we identified cells exhibiting grid-like spiking patterns in the human brain, suggesting that humans and simpler animals rely on homologous spatial-coding schemes.

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Figure 1: Virtual navigation task.
Figure 2: Examples of grid-like spatial firing.
Figure 3: Population measurements of cells exhibiting significant grid-like spatial firing.


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We are grateful to the patients for participating in our study. We thank K. Lee, D. Wyeth, E. Wyeth, D. Pourshaban, E. Behnke and T. Fields for technical assistance. This work was supported by US National Institutes of Health grants MH061975 and NS033221.

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The experiment was designed by J.J., C.T.W., M.J.K., A.S. and I.F. Data were collected by J.J., C.T.W., J.F.M., J.F.B., I.F., M.R.S., A.D.S. and N.S. Data analyses were performed by J.J., X.-X.W., C.T.W., A.S. and M.J.K. J.J. and M.J.K. wrote the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Joshua Jacobs, Itzhak Fried or Michael J Kahana.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Supplementary Figures 1–6 and Supplementary Tables 1–3 (PDF 2170 kb)

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Jacobs, J., Weidemann, C., Miller, J. et al. Direct recordings of grid-like neuronal activity in human spatial navigation. Nat Neurosci 16, 1188–1190 (2013).

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