General navigation requires a spatial map that is not anchored to one environment. The firing fields of the "grid cells" found in the rat dorsolateral medial entorhinal cortex (dMEC) could be such a map. dMEC firing fields are also thought to be modeled well by a regular triangular grid (a grid with equilateral triangles as units). We use computational means to analyze and validate the regularity of the firing fields both quantitatively (using summary statistics for geometric and photometric regularity) and qualitatively (using symmetry group analysis). Upon quantifying the regularity of real dMEC firing fields, we find that there are two types of grid cells. We show rigorously that both are nearest to triangular grids using symmetry analysis. However, type III grid cells are far from regular, both in firing rate (highly non-uniform) and grid geometry. Type III grid cells are also more numerous. We investigate the implications of this for the role of grid cells in path integration.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Computer Science Applications
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Artificial Intelligence