Kavli Affiliate: Edvard Moser & May-Britt Moser
| Authors: Jordan Carpenter, Jan Sigurd Blackstad, David Tingley, Valentin A. Normand, Edvard I. Moser, May-Britt Moser and Benjamin A. Dunn
Navigation requires integrating sensory information with a stable schema to create a dynamic map of an animal’s position using egocentric and allocentric coordinate systems. In the hippocampus, place cells encode allocentric space, but their firing rates may also exhibit directional tuning within egocentric or allocentric reference frames. We compared experimental and simulated data to assess the prevalence of tuning to egocentric bearing (EB) among hippocampal cells in rats foraging in an open field. Using established procedures, we confirmed egocentric modulation of place cell activity in recorded data; however, simulated data revealed a high false positive rate. When we accounted for false positives by comparing with shuffled data that retain correlations between the animal’s direction and position, only a very low number of hippocampal neurons appeared modulated by EB. Our study highlights biases affecting false positive rates and provides insights into the challenges of identifying egocentric modulation in hippocampal neurons.