Human brain dynamics in active spatial navigation

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Scientific Reports, 2021, 11, (1), pp. 13036
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Spatial navigation is a complex cognitive process based on multiple senses that are integrated and processed by a wide network of brain areas. Previous studies have revealed the retrosplenial complex (RSC) to be modulated in a task-related manner during navigation. However, these studies restricted participants' movement to stationary setups, which might have impacted heading computations due to the absence of vestibular and proprioceptive inputs. Here, we present evidence of human RSC theta oscillation (4-8 Hz) in an active spatial navigation task where participants actively ambulated from one location to several other points while the position of a landmark and the starting location were updated. The results revealed theta power in the RSC to be pronounced during heading changes but not during translational movements, indicating that physical rotations induce human RSC theta activity. This finding provides a potential evidence of head-direction computation in RSC in healthy humans during active spatial navigation.
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