A Framework for Intelligence and Cortical Function Based on Grid Cells in the Neocortex

Please read my post on Hex-grid cells. This is much simpler and more biologically plausible than using capsules.

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6 posts were merged into an existing topic: Intelligence vs Consciousness

This theory is so illuminating and beautiful, I really enjoy thinking about it and speculating further ideas. Many thanks to Numenta for sharing all these in an open and accessible way.

I have a question about “what” and “where” pathways. Let’s say I instruct another person/agent to manipulate an object and I already know the agent’s body space and behaviours well. So the task is to specify the movement in agent’s body space to get the desired location/state in the object’s space. Could it be possible that during this task, “where” region performs location computations on agent’s body space? If so, what could be the extent of spaces that “where” region compute locations on?

I will connect, this convergence is what will lead to the singularity…“We shall Ionize!i”

Based on your idea that there are “cortical grid cells” in L6 and “displacement cells” in L5, do you have any testable predictions to make about L5/L6 neurons?
@mrcslws @jhawkins


2 posts were split to a new topic: Why are humans special?

The paper makes several specific and novel proposals regarding the neocortex which means there are many ways the theory can be tested (both to falsify or support). In the posters we presented at the Society For Neuroscience conference this week we listed several testable hypotheses. Here is the poster about the new “frameworks” paper. It lists several testable predictions on the right side.

In practice it can be difficult to actually test these predictions. What is necessary, and what we do, is to sit down with experimentalists and carefully understand what their lab is capable of measuring and how that intersects the theory. This can take hours or even days just to design a potential experiment. For example, it isn’t known how capable rats are at distinguishing different objects via whisking (the active sense of moving whiskers). We predict that whisking should work on the same principles as vision and touch in humans, but we can’t ask the rat what it knows. We can’t even be certain that the whisking in the rat hasn’t evolved alternate strategies for operation. There have been recent advances in fMRI related to detecting grid cells in human neocortex. We list some of these in the same poster. fMRI might turn out to be a more fruitful experimental paradigm for testing the theory, but is limited in spatial and temporal resolution.

Bottom line is the theory makes many surprising predictions that should be testable, but it may take time to figure out how to actually test them.


How is a three dimensional cup mapped to a two dimensional grid cell array?

Have you seen this?

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I think this poster is even more relevant.

There will also be a paper soon about how 2D grid cell modules can track N-dimensional variables.

@rhyolight thanks. Do you have a Version of this poster with higher resolution?

Did you click on it for the higher resolution version?

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Aha, it is a problem with my iPhone… it works in my laptop as you mentioned…Thanks


This is a major step. Using the 3D case it explains why a grid cell ARRAY representation, it is a SDR, it really is HTM.

I would go further and say the point of grid cell arrays is not to make a homunculus of the world. It is not the one fully overlapping point that is useful, it is the SDR that is used.

I have a few questions on the article “A framework for Intelligence and Cortical Function Based on Grid Cells”. The questions are not on the basic idea yet, but on the grid cell theory behind it. You say that every learned environment is associated with a set of unique locations. So suppose you have two identical rooms, except one is colored blue and the other is colored green. You release a rat in one room, it learns its surroundings, then you release it in the other room, and it learns to get around in that room too. So it seems that the grid cells that are active at the left back corner of the blue room should be the same as the grid cells that are active at the left back corner of the green room. But it seems you are saying this is not true. If it is not, then why not? You also say that on entering a learned environment, grid cell modules anchor differently. Anchor means which grid cells are selected. Do you have a diagram that would illustrate this? Finally, in the example of the cup with the logo, why do two spaces exist - logo space and cup space? Are they both represented by the same modules? If they are, I would think there would be danger of overlap, unless you switch in time from one to the other and back.

Thanks in advance

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This is an area of great interest in grid cells studies.

Google “grid cells remapping” and find that as a critter enters and orients to a space the response of the ensemble of grid/place/border cells seems to be reshuffled.

I have yet to read a paper that is able to describe the principles of how it works - only that it does.

There are promising signs that someone will sort out how location is coded but these are still “early day.”


Here’s a super relevant experimental result: https://academic.oup.com/cercor/article/25/11/4619/2367613

In this experiment, the two rooms have the same shape and size. They have different colors and odors. Grid cells’ firing fields are different in the two rooms. Interestingly, the difference is purely translational.


This was just published in Frontiers in Neuro Circuits, so I’ve updated the link in the post above (it was a pre-print server).

One of the most downloaded preprint science papers of 2018:

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