A computational model for spatial cognition combining dorsal and ventral hippocampal place field maps: multiscale navigation

Pablo Scleidorovich, Martin Llofriu, Jean Marc Fellous, Alfredo Weitzenfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Classic studies have shown that place cells are organized along the dorsoventral axis of the hippocampus according to their field size, with dorsal hippocampal place cells having smaller field sizes than ventral place cells. Studies have also suggested that dorsal place cells are primarily involved in spatial navigation, while ventral place cells are primarily involved in context and emotional encoding. Additionally, recent work has shown that the entire longitudinal axis of the hippocampus may be involved in navigation. Based on the latter, in this paper we present a spatial cognition reinforcement learning model inspired by the multiscale organization of the dorsal–ventral axis of the hippocampus. The model analyzes possible benefits of a multiscale architecture in terms of the learning speed, the path optimality, and the number of cells in the context of spatial navigation. The model is evaluated in a goal-oriented task where simulated rats need to learn a path to the goal from multiple starting locations in various open-field maze configurations. The results show that smaller scales of representation are useful for improving path optimality, whereas larger scales are useful for reducing learning time and the number of cells required. The results also show that combining scales can enhance the performance of the multiscale model, with a trade-off between path optimality and learning time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-207
Number of pages21
JournalBiological Cybernetics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020



  • Hippocampus
  • Reinforcement learning
  • Spatial cognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Computer Science(all)

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