Models and Theoretical Frameworks for Hippocampal and Entorhinal Cortex Function in Memory and Navigation

Nathan W. Schultheiss, James R. Hinman, Michael E. Hasselmo

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The hippocampus and related medial temporal lobe structures subserve both navigation and memory. These seemingly disparate functions have been characterized extensively at the cellular, network, and systems levels, leading to models of the hippocampus at different levels of abstraction. Mechanistic models relating neural activity to spatial and/or mnemonic function often rely on representations of individual neurons, synapses, or network structure, while theoretical models of the hippocampus incorporate and attempt to reconcile aspects of the hippocampal codes for space and/or past experience. In this chapter we first provide a brief introduction to the research history and concepts relating the hippocampus to memory and navigation, incorporating an overview of some of the influential models and theories that have been proposed to capture aspects of the hippocampus’s role in mnemonic or spatial processing. We then describe the anatomy of the hippocampal-entorhinal circuit, emphasizing the rough division of labor across hippocampal subregions and entorhinal cortex related to the computational demands of navigation and episodic memory. Next, we discuss the role of oscillations and cross-frequency coupling in coordinating neural activity to encode spatially and temporally sequenced information about ongoing or remembered experience. Finally, we discuss an important conceptual framework that links numerous experimental observations of hippocampal spatial and mnemonic function based on commonalities between map-based and self-motion-based navigation strategies on the one hand and semantic and episodic memory on the other.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAnalysis and Modeling of Coordinated Multi-neuronal Activity
EditorsMasami Tatsuno
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4939-1969-7
ISBN (Print)978-1-4939-1968-0
StatePublished - Oct 30 2014
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

Name Springer Series in Computational Neuroscience
ISSN (Print)2197-1900
ISSN (Electronic)2197-1919


  • hippocampus
  • entorhinal cortex
  • memory
  • navigation
  • oscillation
  • theta
  • gamma
  • pattern separation and completion

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