Spinning in the Scanner: Neural Correlates of Virtual Reorientation

Department of Psychology, Brescia University College, 1285 Western Road, London, Ontario, Canada.
Journal of Experimental Psychology Learning Memory and Cognition (Impact Factor: 3.1). 09/2010; 36(5):1097-107. DOI: 10.1037/a0019938
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Recent studies have used spatial reorientation task paradigms to identify underlying cognitive mechanisms of navigation in children, adults, and a range of animal species. Despite broad interest in this task across disciplines, little is known about the brain bases of reorientation. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine neural activity in adults during a virtual reality version of the reorientation task. Three environments that varied in the cues provided were studied: a rectangular room with 4 identical gray walls (Geometry), a square room with 3 gray walls and 1 red wall (Feature), and a rectangular room with 3 gray walls and 1 red wall (Feature + Geometry). Multiple areas within the medial temporal lobe (MTL) showed increased activation when a feature was present compared with when reorientation was based only on geometric cues. In contrast, reliance on geometric cues significantly activated a number of non-MTL structures, including the prefrontal cortex and inferior temporal gyrus. These results provide neural evidence for processing differences between the 2 types of cue as well as insight into developmental and comparative aspects of reorientation.

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Available from: Nora Newcombe, Aug 26, 2015
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    • "riented , so it would be difficult to draw conclu - sions regarding brain regions involved in reorientation per se ( Sutton et al . , 2010 ) . Yet , in virtual reorientation studies , signif - icantly greater hippocampal activation following disorientation was found in conditions where a non - geometric feature ( i . e . , red wall ) was present ( Sutton et al . , 2010 , 2012 ) . The disparity in these findings implies the use of different neuropsychological mechanisms in reorienting . As such , virtual reorientation studies highlight the specific importance of the hippocampus in spatial reorientation . In sum , it appears that the hippocampus plays a sig - nificant role in remembering the locations of"
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    Frontiers in Psychology 04/2015; 6. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00490 · 2.80 Impact Factor
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    • "When adults must remember and relocate an object while navigating through a virtual environment, they automatically encode the position of the object relative to the shape of extended surfaces that form borders of the surrounding layout ( Doeller & Burgess, 2008), as do rats (O'Keefe & Burgess, 1996). Adults encode the object's position relative to a stable landmark object as well, but landmark encoding is demanding of attention and subject to interference ( Doeller & Burgess, 2008), and it depends on neural structures that are distinct from those that encode environmental boundaries ( Doeller, King, & Burgess, 2008; see also Sutton, Joanisse, & Newcombe, 2010). Furthermore, people with Williams Syndrome, a genetic disorder characterized by impaired spatial cognition, show reduced activity in the hippocampus, and they fail to use the geometry of the space in the classic reorientation task when no landmark is present (Lakusta, Dessalegn, & Landau, 2010). "
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