Minute-scale periodicity of neuronal firing in the human entorhinal cortex

Zahra M. Aghajan*, Gabriel Kreiman, Itzhak Fried*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Grid cells in the entorhinal cortex demonstrate spatially periodic firing, thought to provide a spatial map on behaviorally relevant length scales. Whether such periodicity exists for behaviorally relevant time scales in the human brain remains unclear. We investigate neuronal firing during a temporally continuous experience by presenting 14 neurosurgical patients with a video while recording neuronal activity from multiple brain regions. We report on neurons that modulate their activity in a periodic manner across different time scales—from seconds to many minutes, most prevalently in the entorhinal cortex. These neurons remap their dominant periodicity to shorter time scales during a subsequent recognition memory task. When the video is presented at two different speeds, a significant percentage of these temporally periodic cells (TPCs) maintain their time scales, suggesting a degree of invariance. The TPCs’ temporal periodicity might complement the spatial periodicity of grid cells and together provide scalable spatiotemporal metrics for human experience.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113271
JournalCell Reports
Issue number11
StatePublished - 28 Nov 2023


  • CP: Neuroscience
  • electrophysiology
  • human neurons
  • medial temporal lobe
  • memory
  • periodic time cells
  • temporal representation
  • time
  • time coding


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