Paper: Altered neural odometry in the vertical dimension


Summary (my emphasis). An example of new findings in the grid cell / place cell arena. I’ve always thought gravity was a part of the equation…

The brain’s spatial map is supported by place cells, encoding current location, and grid cells, which report horizontal distance traveled by producing evenly sized and spaced foci of activity (firing fields) that tile the environment surface. We investigated whether the metric properties of the cells’ activity are the same in vertical space as in horizontal. On a vertical wall, grid-cell firing fields were enlarged and more widely spaced, while place-cell firing fields were unchanged in size/shape but less prevalent. Sensitivity of single-cell and population field potential activity to running speed was reduced. Together, these results suggest that spatial encoding properties are determined by an interaction between the body-plane alignment and the gravity axis.


This fits with prior discussions on the forum, and has some of the same researchers.

I also pointed out the somatosensory mapping to combine joint positions and vestibular system to get an internal frame of reference.