PNAS papers show operation of region-specific learning rules in the human brain

23 May 2008

Two papers published in ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences’ formally demonstrate the operation of different learning rules in the striatum and hippocampus.

Using virtual reality and fMRI, Dr Christian Doeller, Dr John King and Prof Neil Burgess (UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience) showed that environmental locations are concurrently learned relative to both discrete landmarks and extended boundaries, but the landmark-related learning is mediated by the striatum via a reinforcement learning rule while the boundary-related learning is mediated by the hippocampus via an incidental learning rule.

The citations in full are:

  • Doeller C, King JA, Burgess N (2008) Parallel and independent processing of environmental boundaries and landmarks in hippocampus and striatum. P.N.A.S. 105 5915-5920
  • Doeller C, Burgess N (2008) Distinct error-correcting and incidental learning of location relative to landmarks and boundaries. P.N.A.S. 105 5909-5914

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