At NeuroLab we make use of neuroimaging, genetic, behavioral and neuropsychological approaches to investigate the cognitive skills and neural mechanisms underlying the human ability to orient and navigate in the surrounding. We are interested in understanding the fundamental mechanisms related to spatial cognition throughout the life span (from early development to the elderly) and in the event of clinical conditions affecting the central nervous system. We have many projects that may interest you. Explore our website to find out more about our research!


------------------------Our most recent manuscript------------------------

Arnold, A., Burles, F., Bray, S., Levy, R. M., Iaria, G. (2014). Front Neurosci (In Press)

Path integration is a fundamental skill for navigation in both humans and animals. Despite recent advances in unravelling the neural basis of path integration in animal models, relatively little is known about how path integration operates at a neural level in humans. Previous attempts to characterize the neural mechanisms used by humans to visually path integrate have suggested a central role of the hippocampus in allowing accurate performance, broadly resembling results from animal data. However, in recent years both the central role of the hippocampus and the perspective that animals and humans share similar neural mechanisms for path integration has come into question. The present study uses a data driven analysis to investigate the neural systems engaged during visual path integration in humans, allowing for an unbiased estimate of neural activity across the entire brain. Our results suggest that humans employ common task control, attention and spatial working memory systems across a frontoparietal network during path integration. However, individuals differed in how these systems are configured into functional networks. High performing individuals were found to more broadly express spatial working memory systems in prefrontal cortex, while low performing individuals engaged an allocentric memory system based primarily in the medial occipito-temporal region. These findings suggest that visual path integration in humans over short distances can operate through a spatial working memory system engaging primarily the prefrontal cortex and that the differential configuration of memory systems recruited by task control networks may help explain individual biases in spatial learning strategies.


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