Human hippocampal theta activity during virtual navigation

Arne D. Ekstrom, Jeremy B. Caplan, Emily Ho, Kirk Shattuck, Itzhak Fried, Michael J. Kahana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

296 Scopus citations


This study examines whether 4-8-Hz theta oscillations can be seen in the human hippocampus, and whether these oscillations increase during virtual movement and searching, as they do in rodents. Recordings from both hippocampal and neocortical depth electrodes were analyzed while six epileptic patients played a virtual taxi-driver game. During the game, the patients alternated between searching for passengers, whose locations were random, and delivering them to stores, whose locations remained constant. In both hippocampus and neocortex, theta increased during virtual movement in all phases of the game. Hippocampal and neocortical theta activity were also significantly correlated with each other, but this correlation did not differ between neocortex and hippocampus and within disparate neocortical electrodes. Our findings demonstrate the existence of movement-related theta oscillations in human hippocampus, and suggest that both cortical and hippocampal oscillations play a role in attention and sensorimotor integration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)881-889
Number of pages9
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Intracranial EEG
  • Sensorimotor integration
  • Spatial navigation
  • Theta oscillations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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