How the brain encodes the spatial position of others ?

November 3, 2020


For social animals, such as bats and rats, tracking the position of a conspecific is important for social interactions such as observational learning. Much previous research has described how hippocampal place cells encode one’s own spatial location; however, the neuronal basis for encoding the position of another is unknown. Two new papers(Danjo et al., Omer et al.) identify so-called social place cells : neurons in the dorsal CA1 region (dCA1) of the hippocampus in bats and in rats that encode the position of an observed conspecific.


  • Danjo, T., Toyoizumi, T., and Fujisawa, S.(2018). Spatial representations of self and other in the hippocampus. Science 359,213–218. doi:10.1126/science.aao3898

  • Omer, D.B., Maimon, S.R., Las, L., and Ulanovsky, N. (2018). Social place-cells in the bat hippocampus. Science 359, 218–224. doi:10.1126/science.aao3474