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Weighted cue integration in the rodent head direction system.

Knight, R. and Piette, C.E. and Page, H. and Walters, D. and Marozzi, E. and Nardini, M. and Stringer, S. and Jeffery, K.J. (2014) 'Weighted cue integration in the rodent head direction system.', Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society B : biological sciences., 369 (1635). p. 20120512.


How the brain combines information from different sensory modalities and of differing reliability is an important and still-unanswered question. Using the head direction (HD) system as a model, we explored the resolution of conflicts between landmarks and background cues. Sensory cue integration models predict averaging of the two cues, whereas attractor models predict capture of the signal by the dominant cue. We found that a visual landmark mostly captured the HD signal at low conflicts: however, there was an increasing propensity for the cells to integrate the cues thereafter. A large conflict presented to naive rats resulted in greater visual cue capture (less integration) than in experienced rats, revealing an effect of experience. We propose that weighted cue integration in HD cells arises from dynamic plasticity of the feed-forward inputs to the network, causing within-trial spatial redistribution of the visual inputs onto the ring. This suggests that an attractor network can implement decision processes about cue reliability using simple architecture and learning rules, thus providing a potential neural substrate for weighted cue integration.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Head direction cells, Sensory cue integration, Path integration, Attractor dynamics, Vision, Vestibular system.
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Publisher statement:© 2013 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.
Date accepted:17 September 2013
Date deposited:21 January 2015
Date of first online publication:05 February 2014
Date first made open access:No date available

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