Neural Representation of Direction in Exploration and Navigation

With Elizabeth R. Chrastil

Previous studies have discovered head direction signals in the brain using repeated exposure of heading stimuli. Previous researchers have also classified head direction signals when exploring in an open space, but whether head direction signals can be classified in the brain in a complex environment remains an open question.

In the experiment, participants first explored the maze by pressing buttons in an fMRI scanner. The task during the exploration phase was to find 9 objects located in the environment and remember their locations. In the test phase, participants were asked to start from one object location to go to another object location within limited time.

In this ongoing study, we are implementing different machine learning algorithms to discriminate between head directions in different brain regions.