Abstract for the talk on 05.12.2018 (15:00 h)Colloquium of the Max Planck Institute
Christian Doeller (MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Germany)
Space for Cognition
The fundamental question in cognitive neuroscience—what are the key coding principles of the brain enabling human thinking—still remains largely unanswered. Evidence from neurophysiology suggests that place and grid cells in the hippocampal-entorhinal system provide an internal spatial map, the brain’s SatNav—the most intriguing neuronal coding scheme outside the sensory system. Our framework is concerned with the key idea that this navigation system in the brain—potentially as a result of evolution—provides the blueprint for a neural metric underlying human cognition. Specifically, we propose that the brain maps experience in so-called ‘cognitive spaces’. In this talk, I will give an overview of our theoretical framework and experimental approach and will present show-case examples from fMRI, MEG and virtual reality experiments identifying cognitive coding mechanisms in the hippocampal-entorhinal system and beyond. Finally, I will sketch out our long-term cognitive neuroscience research program at the MPI, including key translations to information technology and the clinic.
Bellmund, J. L. S., Gärdenfors, P., Moser, E. I., & Doeller, C. F. (2018). Navigating cognition: Spatial codes for human thinking. Science, 362(6415), eaat6766.