Flexible coding of time or distance in hippocampal cells

Shai Abramson, Benjamin J. Kraus, John A. White, Michael E. Hasselmo, Dori Derdikman, Genela Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Analysis of neuronal activity in the hippocampus of behaving animals has revealed cells acting as ‘Time Cells’, which exhibit selective spiking patterns at specific time intervals since a triggering event, and ‘Distance Cells’, which encode the traversal of specific distances. Other neurons exhibit a combination of these features, alongside place selectivity. This study aims to investigate how the task performed by animals during recording sessions influences the formation of these representations. We analyzed data from a treadmill running study conducted by Kraus et al., 2013, in which rats were trained to run at different velocities. The rats were recorded in two trial contexts: a ‘fixed time’ condition, where the animal ran on the treadmill for a predetermined duration before proceeding, and a ‘fixed distance’ condition, where the animal ran a specific distance on the treadmill. Our findings indicate that the type of experimental condition significantly influenced the encoding of hippocampal cells. Specifically, distance-encoding cells dominated in fixed-distance experiments, whereas time-encoding cells dominated in fixed-time experiments. These results underscore the flexible coding capabilities of the hippocampus, which are shaped by over-representation of salient variables associated with reward conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere83930
StatePublished - 16 Oct 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Abramson et al.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Neuroscience


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