Event on

Location: Zoom

Brain Dynamics Graduate School is happy to announce a new online talk in our Seminar Series:



The fundamental question in cognitive neuroscience—what are the key coding principles of the brain enabling human thinking—still remains largely unanswered. Evidence from neurophysiology suggests that place and grid cells in the hippocampal-entorhinal system provide an internal spatial map, the brain’s SatNav—the most intriguing neuronal coding scheme outside the sensory system. Our framework is concerned with the key idea that this navigation system in the brain—potentially resulting from evolution—provides the blueprint for a neural metric underlying human cognition. Specifically, we propose that the brain maps experience in so-called ‘cognitive spaces’. We test the overarching model that—akin to representing places and paths in a spatial map—similar coding principles are involved in the formation of such cognitive spaces. Importantly, we investigate if these domain-general principles support a broad range of our fundamental cognitive functions, ranging from spatial navigation, memory formation, learning, imagination, and perception to time processing, decision making, and knowledge acquisition. In this talk, I will give an overview of our theoretical framework and experimental approach and will present show-case examples from our fMRI, MEG, and virtual reality experiments identifying cognitive coding mechanisms in the hippocampal-entorhinal system and beyond. 

Further reading:
Bellmund JLS, Gärdenfors P, Moser EI, & Doeller CF (2018). Navigating cognition: Spatial codes for human thinking. Science, 362(6415), eaat6766. 
Julian, J. B., & Doeller, C. F. (2021). Remapping and realignment in the human hippocampal formation predict context-dependent spatial behavior. Nature Neuroscience, 24, 863–872.
Bellmund JLS, de Cothi W, Ruiter TA, Nau M, Barry C, & Doeller CF (2020). Deforming the metric of cognitive maps distorts memory. Nature Human Behaviour, 4(2), 177-188.
Theves S, Fernandez G, & Doeller CF (2019). The hippocampus encodes distances in multidimensional feature space. Current Biology, 29(7), 1226-1231.e3.
Frey, M.*, Nau, M.*, Doeller C.F.* (2021). Magnetic resonance-based eye tracking using deep neural networks. Nature Neuroscience, 24, 1772–1779 (see preview by Krajbich, I. No camera needed with MR-based eye tracking. Nat Neurosci (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41593-021-00942-1)
Public understanding of science (in German)
Bellmund JLS, Doeller CF (2019): Gedankenräume im Kopf, Gehirn & Geist, 11: 12-19.
Martin Hubert (2021): Über Denken im Raum - Das uralte, navigierende Gehirn. Deutschlandfunk

CV Prof. Doeller