Scene-selective coding by single neurons in the human parahippocampal cortex

Florian Mormann*, Simon Kornblith, Moran Cerf, Matias J. Ison, Alexander Kraskov, Michelle Tran, Simeon Knieling, Rodrigo Quian Quiroga, Christof Koch, Itzhak Fried

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Imaging, electrophysiological, and lesion studies have shown a relationship between the parahippocampal cortex (PHC) and the processing of spatial scenes. Our present knowledge of PHC, however, is restricted to the macroscopic properties and dynamics of bulk tissue; the behavior and selectivity of single parahippocampal neurons remains largely unknown. In this study, we analyzed responses from 630 parahippocampal neurons in 24 neurosurgical patients during visual stimulus presentation. We found a spatially clustered subpopulation of sceneselective units with an associated event-related field potential. These units form a population code that is more distributed for scenes than for other stimulus categories, and less sparse than elsewhere in the medial temporal lobe. Our electrophysiological findings provide insight into how individual units give rise to the population response observed with functional imaging in the parahippocampal place area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1153-1158
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number5
StatePublished - 31 Jan 2017


FundersFunder number
Gimbel Discovery Fund
National Science Foundation
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Dana Foundation
G. Harold and Leila Y. Mathers Foundation
Deutsche ForschungsgemeinschaftDFG MO930/4-1, SFB 1089
Volkswagen Foundation


    • Electrophysiology
    • Population code
    • Scene selectivity
    • Single units


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