Publication Details

Yamamoto, N., Philbeck, J. W., Woods, A. J., Gajewski, D. A., Arthur, J. C., Potolicchio Jr, S. J., Levy, L. & Caputy, A. J. (2014). Medial temporal lobe roles in human path integration. PLoS One, 9 (5), 1-14.


Path integration is a process in which observers derive their location by integrating self-motion signals along their locomotion trajectory. Although the medial temporal lobe (MTL) is thought to take part in path integration, the scope of its role for path integration remains unclear. To address this issue, we administered a variety of tasks involving path integration and other related processes to a group of neurosurgical patients whose MTL was unilaterally resected as therapy for epilepsy. These patients were unimpaired relative to neurologically intact controls in many tasks that required integration of various kinds of sensory self-motion information. However, the same patients (especially those who had lesions in the right hemisphere) walked farther than the controls when attempting to walk without vision to a previewed target. Importantly, this task was unique in our test battery in that it allowed participants to form a mental representation of the target location and anticipate their upcoming walking trajectory before they began moving. Thus, these results put forth a new idea that the role of MTL structures for human path integration may stem from their participation in predicting the consequences of one's locomotor actions. The strengths of this new theoretical viewpoint are discussed.



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