A central component of our ability to navigate an environment is the formation of a memory representation that is allocentric and thus independent of our starting point within that environment. Computational models and rodent electrophysiological recordings suggest a critical role for the CA1 subregion of the hippocampus in this type of coding; however, the hippocampal neural basis of spatial learning in humans remains unclear. We studied subjects learning virtual environments using high-resolution functional magnetic resonance imaging (1.6 mm x 1.6 mm in-plane) and computational unfolding to better visualize substructural changes in neural activity in the hippocampus. We show that the right posterior CA1 subregion is active and positively correlated with performance when subjects learn a spatial environment independent of starting point and direction. Altogether, our results demonstrate that theCA1subregion is involved in our ability to learn a map-like representation of an environment.
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