Temporal coding and spatial mapping integrated in hippocampus

Time cells in the hippocampus: a new dimension for mapping memories

Nature Reviews Neuroscience (2014)  doi:10.1038/nrn3827
Published online  01 October 2014

Abstract

Recent studies have revealed the existence of hippocampal neurons that fire at successive moments in temporally structured experiences. Several studies have shown that such temporal coding is not attributable to external events, specific behaviours or spatial dimensions of an experience. Instead, these cells represent the flow of time in specific memories and have therefore been dubbed ‘time cells’. The firing properties of time cells parallel those of hippocampal place cells; time cells thus provide an additional dimension that is integrated with spatial mapping. The robust representation of both time and space in the hippocampus suggests a fundamental mechanism for organizing the elements of experience into coherent memories.

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