Attractor dynamics of spatially correlated neural activity in the limbic system

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Attractor networks are a popular computational construct used tomodel different brain systems. These networks allow elegant computations that are thought to represent a number of aspects of brain function. Although there is good reason to believe that the brain displays attractor dynamics, it has proven difficult to test experimentally whether any particular attractor architecture resides in any particular brain circuit. We review models and experimental evidence for three systems in the rat brain that are presumed to be components of the rat's navigational and memory system. Head-direction cells have been modeled as a ring attractor, grid cells as a plane attractor, and place cells both as a plane attractor and as a point attractor. Whereas the models have proven to be extremely useful conceptual tools, the experimental evidence in their favor, although intriguing, is still mostly circumstantial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-285
Number of pages19
JournalAnnual review of neuroscience
StatePublished - Jul 2012


  • grid cell
  • head-direction cell
  • hipp campus
  • medial entorhinal cortex
  • place cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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