A new research led by University of California, San Diego has found a region of the brain that enables humans to do anything and navigate us in our every small task.
The research explained that the ability of getting around numerous indirect points actually depends upon our brain mapping the position within the environment, knowing routes that take us between locations, and an awareness of the correct actions to initiate at any given time: turn right, turn left, go straight.
The researchers mentioned that place cells and grid cells are neurons in the hippocampal circuit that are responsible for mapping the position of an animal with respect to the broader environment, and neurons in the parietal cortex generate complex representations of the animal's position along a route.
Douglas Nitz, associate professor of cognitive science, said that these different forms of spatial information, generated in distinct structures, must be combined and related to each other in an organized fashion in order for an agent to effectively move through the world.
Nitz added that their study showed that the retrosplenial cortex is an area of the brain that is simultaneously sensitive to mapping interior and exterior spaces and may be a kind of 'conjunction junction', putting together all the necessary information for successful navigation.
The retrosplenial cortex, which sits in the brain between the parietal and the hippocampus and is vastly interconnected with both regions, has been hypothesized to be critical in this way. The findings will now be applied to robots to create an artificial neural network with properties of the retrosplenial cortex so that a robot might someday also solve the sorts of navigational problems humans routinely face.
The research is published in the journal Nature Neuroscience