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A 'landmark' study on the neural basis of navigation

How does the brain learn the relevance of landmarks at key decision points? An imaging study now shows that the parahippocampal gyrus responds to the navigational relevance of landmarks, even those that were not remembered.

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Figure 1: When exploring a new environment, although we might consciously pay attention to lots of interesting landmarks, the parahippocampal gyrus (PHG) is more discerning, and signals only those landmarks that have particular use in aiding navigation.

Debbie Maizels


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Spiers, H., Maguire, E. A 'landmark' study on the neural basis of navigation. Nat Neurosci 7, 572–574 (2004).

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