Frontal-midline theta and posterior alpha oscillations index early processing of spatial representations during active navigation
AffiliationDepartment of Psychology, University of Arizona
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CitationDu, Y. K., Liang, M., McAvan, A. S., Wilson, R. C., & Ekstrom, A. D. (2023). Frontal-midline theta and posterior alpha oscillations index early processing of spatial representations during active navigation. Cortex, 169, 65-80.
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AbstractPrevious research has demonstrated that humans combine multiple sources of spatial information such as self-motion and landmark cues while navigating through an environment. However, it is unclear whether this involves comparing multiple representations obtained from different sources during navigation (parallel hypothesis) or building a representation first based on self-motion cues and then combining with landmarks later (serial hypothesis). We tested these two hypotheses (parallel vs serial) in an active navigation task using wireless mobile scalp EEG recordings. Participants walked through an immersive virtual hallway with or without conflicts between self-motion and landmarks (i.e., intersections) and pointed toward the starting position of the hallway. We employed the oscillatory signals recorded during mobile wireless scalp EEG as a means of identifying when participant representations based on self-motion versus landmark cues might have first emerged. We found that path segments, including intersections present early during navigation, were more strongly associated with later pointing error, regardless of when they appeared during encoding. We also found that there was sufficient information contained within the frontal-midline theta and posterior alpha oscillatory signals in the earliest segments of navigation involving intersections to decode condition (i.e., conflicting vs not conflicting). Together, these findings suggest that intersections play a pivotal role in the early development of spatial representations, suggesting that memory representations for the geometry of walked paths likely develop early during navigation, in support of the parallel hypothesis.
Note12 month embargo; first published: 30 September 2023
VersionFinal accepted manuscript
- Frontal-midline theta and posterior alpha oscillations index early processing of spatial representations during active navigation.
- Authors: Du YK, Liang M, McAvan AS, Wilson RC, Ekstrom AD
- Issue date: 2023 Jul 16
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