Cognitive maps for spatial and temporal memory


The hippocampal-entorhinal region forms cognitive maps of space and stimulus relations in general. In this talk, I will address how cognitive maps underlie human spatial and temporal memory. First, I will show that boundary geometry distorts spatial memory in ways consistent with deformations of grid-cell firing patterns. In a highly-immersive virtual reality experiment, mnemonic distortions through environmental geometry followed predictions from a model of grid-pattern deformations based on the successor representation.These findings strengthen the putative link between the grid metric of cognitive maps and spatial memory. Turning to cognitive maps of temporal relations in the hippocampal-entorhinal region, I will argue that hippocampal sequence representations do not merely reflect the sequential order of events or elapsing time, but are flexibly scaled to an experimentally-defined temporal reference frame. Further, the hippocampus and entorhinal cortex generalize temporal relations across multiple sequences. Together, these findings show that spatial and temporal reference frames anchor cognitive maps and shed new light onto how cognitive maps underlie episodic memory.

Brown University