Events / CNI Seminar: Andre Fenton

CNI Seminar: Andre Fenton

April 9, 2024
12:00 PM - 1:15 PM

111 Levin Building

Andre Fenton
Center for Neural Science


Cognition in the noise: remembering, remapping, and reframing cognition dynamics


How do we learn and know? For much of my career it was assumed that neurons respond to external stimuli as if to represent them. However, an equally plausible idea asserts that neuronal activity models experience because the activity is fundamentally internally-organized and instead of reflecting, it is fitted to the external features of the world. I will report on our investigations of acquired cognition through studies of spatially-tuned cells in the hippocampus and related areas. We started with the “noise,” uncertainty of spatially-tuned action potential discharge, a clue that cognitive variables might be in that noise. Our studies of knowledge embrace the interplay across the molecular, synaptic, network, and behavioral levels of biological organization. I’ll discuss the discharge of hippocampus place cells during phencyclidine intoxication and head-direction cells as different examples of internally-organized neural representations of the environment, as well as recent studies of the hippocampal remapping phenomenon, in which place fields rearrange according to cell-specific rules when the environment is changed. I suggest a “reregistration” reinterpretation, that hippocampal neural activity is fundamentally internally-organized such that cofiring relationships amongst the cells are largely invariant across distinct environments, despite the cell-specific rearrangement of place fields. Collectively these studies promote a view that rather than represent external information, subjective, internally-organized activity in the entorhinal-hippocampal circuit is actively fit to the environment for processing information that enables navigation and serves cognition.


A pizza lunch willl be served.