• INI
  • Courses
  • Colloquium: Brains in Space: An Interdisciplinary Research Colloquium on Spatial Navigation

Colloquium: Brains in Space: An Interdisciplinary Research Colloquium on Spatial Navigation

In this colloquium, speakers will present their research in various areas of spatial navigation, including behavioral, neuroscientific, and theoretical approaches. The goal is to foster interdisciplinary discussions along the lines of the review article "A Map of Spatial Navigation for Neuroscience" (Parra-Barrero et al., 2023) that proposes a taxonomy of spatial navigation processes in mammals. The talks will cover a diverse range of topics, from the neural underpinnings of navigation to complex navigation behaviors. Attendees will gain a better understanding of how the mammalian brain represents and navigates through space, as well as learn about several cognitive processes such as learning and memory through the lens of spatial navigation.

Takes place every week virtually on Tuesday from 16:00 to 17:30 CEST (central European summer time)
First appointment is on 16.04.2024
Last appointment is on 16.07.2024

Zoom link: https://ruhr-uni-bochum.zoom.us/j/68766911124?pwd=MFErK284UmN5V25wZzd5L1FCaWo3QT09

Schedule (provisional)

16.04.24 Eloy Parra Barrero - Instituto Cajal CSIC
A taxonomy of spatial navigation processes
In recent decades, neuroscientists have discovered and characterized a whole zoo of neural representations of space. However, relatively little attention has been paid to the navigation behaviors these representations are meant to enable. Drawing insights from behavioral, neurobiological and robotics research, we have proposed a taxonomy of spatial navigation behaviors in mammals that can help guide interdisciplinary research into the neural basis of spatial navigation (Parra-Barrero et al., 2023). I will introduce the taxonomy and showcase its usefulness in identifying potential issues with common experimental approaches, correctly interpreting neural activity and pointing to new avenues of research.
30.04.24 Marko Nardini - Durham University
Learning effective perception and action in space
Our experience of the world seems to unfold seamlessly in a unitary 3D space. For this to be possible, the brain must merge numerous different sensory inputs and cognitive representations. How does it learn to do so? I discuss work on two key combination problems: coordinating multiple frames of reference (e.g. egocentric and allocentric), and coordinating multiple sensory signals (e.g. visual and proprioceptive). I focus on two populations whose spatial processing we can observe at a crucial stage of being configured and optimised: children, whose spatial abilities are still developing, and naïve adults learning new spatial skills, such as sensing distance using new auditory cues. The work uses a model-based approach to compare behaviour with the predictions of alternative information processing models. This lets us see when and how-during development, and with experience-the perceptual-cognitive computations underpinning our experiences in space change. I will discuss progress on understanding the limits of effective spatial computation for perception and action, and how lessons from the developing spatial cognitive system can inform approaches to augmenting human abilities with new sensory signals provided by technology.
07.05.24 Laurenz Wiskott & Eddie Seabrook - Ruhr University Bochum
Slow feature analysis, successor representation, and the mathematical relation between the two
14.05.24 Elizabeth Chrastil - University of California at Irvine
28.05.24 Laure Rondi-Reig - Université Pierre et Marie Curie
Cerebellum and disorientation
11.06.24 Denis Sheynikhovich  - CNRS – INSERM
Impact of aging on human spatial navigation: the role of landmarks and geometry
02.07.24 Francesca Sargolini - Aix Marseille Université
09.07.24 Sandhiya Vijayabaskaran - Ruhr University Bochum
16.07.24 Aaron Wilber - Florida State University
A parietal-hippocampal network for figuring out where you are and what to do next is dysfunctional in AD
TBA Hanspeter A. Mallot - University Tübingen



Course type
Summer Term 2024


Document A map of spatial navigation for neuroscience

Parra-Barrero, E., Vijayabaskaran, S., Seebrook, E., Wiskott, L., Cheng, S. (2023). A map of spatial navigation for neuroscience. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 152. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2023.105200

The Institut für Neuroinformatik (INI) is a central research unit of the Ruhr-Universität Bochum. We aim to understand the fundamental principles through which organisms generate behavior and cognition while linked to their environments through sensory systems and while acting in those environments through effector systems. Inspired by our insights into such natural cognitive systems, we seek new solutions to problems of information processing in artificial cognitive systems. We draw from a variety of disciplines that include experimental approaches from psychology and neurophysiology as well as theoretical approaches from physics, mathematics, electrical engineering and applied computer science, in particular machine learning, artificial intelligence, and computer vision.

Universitätsstr. 150, Building NB, Room 3/32
D-44801 Bochum, Germany

Tel: (+49) 234 32-28967
Fax: (+49) 234 32-14210