Spatial cognition and neuro-mimetic navigation: a model of hippocampal place cell activity
A computational model of hippocampal activity during spatial cognition and navigation tasks is presented. The spatial representation in our model of the rat hippocampus is built on-line during exploration via two processing streams. An allothetic vision-based representation is built by unsupervised Hebbian learning extracting spatio-temporal properties of the environment from visual input. An idiothetic representation is learned based on internal movement-related information provided by path integration. On the level of the hippocampus, allothetic and idiothetic representations are integrated to yield a stable representation of the environment by a population of localized overlapping CA3-CA1 place fields. The hippocampal spatial representation is used as a basis for goal-oriented spatial behavior. We focus on the neural pathway connecting the hippocampus to the nucleus accumbens. Place cells drive a population of locomotor action neurons in the nucleus accumbens. Reward-based learning is applied to map place cell activity into action cell activity. The ensemble action cell activity provides navigational maps to support spatial behavior. We present experimental results obtained with a mobile Khepera robot.