Memory consolidation affects the interplay of place and response navigation

Patrizia M. Maier, Deetje Iggena, Christoph J. Ploner, Carsten Finke

Navigation through space is based on memory representations of landmarks (‘place’) or movement sequences (‘response’). Over time, memory representations transform through consolidation. However, it is unclear how the transformation affects place and response navigation in humans. In the present study, healthy adults navigated to target locations in a virtual maze. The preference for using place and response strategies and the ability to recall place and response memories were tested after a delay of one hour (n = 31), one day (n = 30), or two weeks (n = 32). The different delays captured early-phase synaptic changes, changes after one night of sleep, and long-delay changes due to the reorganization of navigation networks. Our results show that the relative contributions of place and response navigation changed as a function of time. After a short delay of up to one day, participants preferentially used a place strategy and exhibited a high degree of visual landmark exploration. After a longer delay of two weeks, place strategy use decreased significantly. Participants now equally relied on place and response strategy use and increasingly repeated previously taken paths. Further analyses indicate that response strategy use predominantly occurred as a compensatory strategy in the absence of sufficient place memory. Over time, place memory faded before response memory. We suggest that the observed shift from place to response navigation is context-dependent since detailed landmark information, which strongly relied on hippocampal function, decayed faster than sequence information, which required less detail and depended on extra-hippocampal areas. We conclude that changes in place and response navigation likely reflect the reorganization of navigation networks during systems consolidation.

Cortex. 175;12-27 (2024)


allocentricegocentricmemory consolidationnavigationspatial memory
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