How does the brain represent space?
Many goal-directed behaviours of everyday life require individuals to find their way towards specific locations and ask: "Where am I?", "Where is it?" and "How do I get there?" We aim to address how does the brain constructs a representation of space in primates which have a very different visual system from rodents, and especially, a fovea with a high acuity at the center of their visual field. We conduct electrophysiological recordings in the experimental model closest to human, the macaque monkey. We employ behavioural testing paradigm that uses virtual reality technology for real-time spatial navigation. Using these techniques, we showed that neurons are active for precise positions and actions related to the landmarks gazed at by the animals. Our findings indicate that counterparts of rodent place cells in primates embody multidimensional, task situated knowledge pertaining to the target of gaze.
Current research focuses on neural processing beyond the hippocampus and navigation in real world.