Exploration in a dark open field: a shift from directional to positional progression and a proposed model of acquiring spatial information.

Abstract:

:Exploration in a dark open field undergoes three progressive changes: (i) an initial phase of spending equal amounts of time in various zones of the arena changes to staying in the corners, and ultimately spending most of the time in one corner; (ii) travel paths are first circular and scattered all over the arena, but gradually become anchored to one corner at which they start and end; (iii) traveled distance gradually decreases to that of the initial level seen in a lit open field. Altogether, rodents shift from a 'looping' exploration mechanism with feeble coupling with the environment, to 'home base' exploration which is firmly anchored to the environment. This shift also involves switching from momentary and sporadic to repeated returns to a specific, presumably familiar place, to which the animal navigates back from various other places. We suggest that this switching illustrates navigation first by directional and then by positional environmental cues, as hypothesized in the 'parallel map theory'. We also suggest that the transition from looping to home base behavior is part of a hierarchal construction of space representation via three modes of spatial information processing: (i) piloting--sequential processing, based on moving from one landmark to the next; (ii) orienting--parallel processing, based on moving from one point to the next, with the same starting and ending point; (iii) navigating--continuous processing, based on continuously updating the position in relation to several locations in the environment (map navigation).

journal_name

Behav Brain Res

authors

Avni R,Zadicario P,Eilam D

doi

10.1016/j.bbr.2006.04.006

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

2006-08-10 00:00:00

pages

313-23

issue

2

eissn

0166-4328

issn

1872-7549

pii

S0166-4328(06)00209-9

journal_volume

171

pub_type

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