ESR11 : Models of sensory-related and abstract map formation


This project investigates how animals create abstract place representations when different modalities are involved. This question is motivated by the recent finding of the Ulanovsky lab at the Weizmann Institute that hippocampal space maps of the same environment in flying bats are different in darkness vs. light. For example: If different sensory modalities evoke different hippocampal maps, where is the ‘abstract map’ stored? How does the animal know where it is within the environment, in an abstract manner (irrespective of sensory modality)? Are there plausible theoretical mechanisms to bind the different maps for the different sensory modalities – or at least to align the coordinate systems of the two maps? We will explore several possible theoretical solutions, such as strengthening cross-map connections representing a given location, or generating a truly invariant representation in another network (e.g. downstream of the hippocampus). The analysis will be applied to data obtained by ESR6, ESR2 (conflict between different modalities).

Supervisor Dr. Misha Tsodyks

Michelangelo Naim was recruited for this M-GATE project.