Main Menu (Mobile)- Block
Main Menu - Block
The rules governing the formation of spatial maps in the hippocampus have not been determined. We investigated the large-scale structure of place field activity by recording hippocampal neurons in rats exploring a previously unencountered 48-meter-long track. Single-cell and population activities were well described by a two-parameter stochastic model. Individual neurons had their own characteristic propensity for forming fields randomly along the track, with some cells expressing many fields and many exhibiting few or none. Because of the particular distribution of propensities across cells, the number of neurons with fields scaled logarithmically with track length over a wide, ethological range. These features constrain hippocampal memory mechanisms, may allow efficient encoding of environments and experiences of vastly different extents and durations, and could reflect general principles of population coding.