An event map of memory space in the hippocampus


The hippocampus has long been implicated in both episodic and spatial memory, however these mnemonic functions have been traditionally investigated in separate research strands. Theoretical accounts and rodent data suggest a common mechanism for spatial and episodic memory in the hippocampus by providing an abstract and flexible representation of the external world. Here, we monitor the de novo formation of such a representation of space and time in humans using fMRI. After learning spatio-temporal trajectories in a large-scale virtual city, subject-specific neural similarity in the hippocampus scaled with the remembered proximity of events in space and time. Crucially, the structure of the entire spatio-temporal network was reflected in neural patterns. Our results provide evidence for a common coding mechanism underlying spatial and temporal aspects of episodic memory in the hippocampus and shed new light on its role in interleaving multiple episodes in a neural event map of memory space.