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Rats Use Imagination to Navigate in VR

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A rat.

New research suggests rats can mentally navigate to locations they've visited before.

Credit: Pexels

Researchers at Howard Hughes Medical Institute tested whether rats, like humans, can use their thoughts to navigate a virtual environment.

They implanted a brain-machine interface in rats to record their hippocampal activity.

After having the rats navigate an on-screen virtual environment while running on a spherical treadmill, the researchers had them navigate the virtual reality (VR) arena using only their thoughts.

The brain-machine interface translated the rats' neural activity into on-screen motion, and they were rewarded when they recreated the hippocampal activity associated with a specific location.

From Smithsonian Magazine
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Abstracts Copyright © 2023 SmithBucklin, Washington, D.C., USA


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