fMRI hippocampal activity during a virtualradial arm maze

Robert S. Astur, Sarah A. St. Germain, Elizabeth K. Baker, Vince Calhoun, Godfrey D. Pearlson, R. Todd Constable

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Numerous studies have shown that the hippocampus is critical for spatial memory. Within nonhuman research, a task often used to assess spatial memory is the radial arm maze. Because of the spatial nature of this task, this maze is often used to assess the function of the hippocampus. Our goal was to extrapolate this task to humans and examine whether healthy undergraduates utilize their hippocampus while performing a virtual reality version of the radial arm maze task. Thirteen undergraduates performed a virtual radial arm maze during functional magnetic resonance imaging. The brain maps of activity reveal bilateral hippocampal BOLD signal changes during the performance of this task. However, paradoxically, this BOLD signal change decreases during the spatial memory component of the task. Additionally, we note frontal cortex activity reflective of working memory circuits. These data reveal that, as predicted by the rodent literature, the hippocampus is involved in performing the virtual radial arm maze in humans. Hence, this virtual reality version may be used to assess the integrity of hippocampus so as to predict risk or severity in a variety of psychiatric disorders.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)307-317
    Number of pages11
    JournalApplied Psychophysiology Biofeedback
    Volume30
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Sep 1 2005

    Keywords

    • Hippocampus
    • Memory
    • Radial arm maze
    • Virtual reality
    • fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging)

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
    • Applied Psychology

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  • Cite this

    Astur, R. S., St. Germain, S. A., Baker, E. K., Calhoun, V., Pearlson, G. D., & Constable, R. T. (2005). fMRI hippocampal activity during a virtualradial arm maze. Applied Psychophysiology Biofeedback, 30(3), 307-317. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10484-005-6385-z