Social place-cells in the bat hippocampus

David B. Omer, Shir R. Maimon, Liora Las, Nachum Ulanovsky*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Scopus citations

Abstract

Social animals have to know the spatial positions of conspecifics. However, it is unknown how the position of others is represented in the brain. We designed a spatial observational-learning task, in which an observer bat mimicked a demonstrator bat while we recorded hippocampal dorsal-CA1 neurons from the observer bat. A neuronal subpopulation represented the position of the other bat, in allocentric coordinates. About half of these "social place-cells" represented also the observer's own position-that is, were place cells. The representation of the demonstrator bat did not reflect self-movement or trajectory planning by the observer. Some neurons represented also the position of inanimate moving objects; however, their representation differed from the representation of the demonstrator bat. This suggests a role for hippocampal CA1 neurons in social-spatial cognition.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)218-224
Number of pages7
JournalScience
Volume359
Issue number6372
DOIs
StatePublished - 12 Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank K. Haroush, S. Romani, O. Forkosh, A. Rubin, M. Geva-Sagiv, A. Finkelstein, T. Eliav, G. Ginosar, A. Sarel, and D. Blum for comments on the manuscript; S. Kaufman, O. Gobi, and S. Futerman for bat training; A. Tuval for veterinary support; C. Ra’anan and R. Eilam for histology; B. Pasmantirer and G. Ankaoua for mechanical designs; and G. Brodsky for graphics. This study was supported by research grants to N.U. from the European Research Council (ERC-CoG–NATURAL_BAT_NAV), Israel Science Foundation (ISF 1319/13), and Minerva Foundation. The data are archived on the Weizmann Institute of Science servers and will be made available on request.

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