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Weighted cue integration in the rodent head direction system

Knight, R.; Piette, C.E.; Page, H.; Walters, D.; Marozzi, E.; Nardini, M.; Stringer, S.; Jeffery, K.J.

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R. Knight

C.E. Piette

H. Page

D. Walters

E. Marozzi

S. Stringer

K.J. Jeffery


How the brain combines information from different sensory modalities and of differing reliability is an important and still-unanswered question. Using the head direction (HD) system as a model, we explored the resolution of conflicts between landmarks and background cues. Sensory cue integration models predict averaging of the two cues, whereas attractor models predict capture of the signal by the dominant cue. We found that a visual landmark mostly captured the HD signal at low conflicts: however, there was an increasing propensity for the cells to integrate the cues thereafter. A large conflict presented to naive rats resulted in greater visual cue capture (less integration) than in experienced rats, revealing an effect of experience. We propose that weighted cue integration in HD cells arises from dynamic plasticity of the feed-forward inputs to the network, causing within-trial spatial redistribution of the visual inputs onto the ring. This suggests that an attractor network can implement decision processes about cue reliability using simple architecture and learning rules, thus providing a potential neural substrate for weighted cue integration.


Knight, R., Piette, C., Page, H., Walters, D., Marozzi, E., Nardini, M., …Jeffery, K. (2014). Weighted cue integration in the rodent head direction system. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 369(1635), Article 20120512.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 17, 2013
Online Publication Date Feb 5, 2014
Publication Date Feb 5, 2014
Deposit Date Jan 17, 2014
Publicly Available Date Jan 21, 2015
Journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Print ISSN 0962-8436
Electronic ISSN 1471-2970
Publisher The Royal Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 369
Issue 1635
Article Number 20120512
Keywords Head direction cells, Sensory cue integration, Path integration, Attractor dynamics, Vision, Vestibular system.


Published Journal Article (718 Kb)

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Copyright Statement
© 2013 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.

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