Physical principles explain the arrangement in the brain of the neurones responsible for the representation of space

The brain of most mammals employs specific neurones, called grid cells, to create a map of the surrounding space. Each grid cell is activated when the animal moves to a region of space in the nearby of the vertex of a triangular grid which covers the neighbouring space. Different grids exist, organised in a regular way, to cover the space at different length scales. Using simple statistical-physics concepts, members of CC&B lead by Guido Tiana in collaboration with researchers at the University of California in San Diego (UCSD) showed that the observed arrangement of the different grids is such to optimise the covering of space.

A. Sanzeni, V. Balasubramanian, G. Tiana and M. Vergassola
Complete coverage of space favors modularity of the grid system in the brain
Phys. Rev. E 94, 062409 (2016)
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published on 2/9/2017