Behavioral and Brain Sciences 10 (1):101-119 (1987)

Theories of superior collicular and hippocampal function have remarkable similarities. Both structures have been repeatedly implicated in spatial and attentional behaviour and in inhibitory control of locomotion. Moreover, they share certain electrophysiological properties in their single unit responses and in the synchronous appearance and disappearance of slow wave activity. Both are phylogenetically old and the colliculus projects strongly to brainstem nuclei instrumental in the generation of theta rhythm in the hippocampal EECOn the other hand, close inspection of behavioural and electrophysiological data reveals disparities. In particular, hippocampal processing mainly concerns stimulus ambiguity, contextual significance, and spatial relations or other subtle, higher order characteristics. This requires the use of largely preprocessed sensory information and mediation of poststimulus investigation. Although collicular activity must also be integrated with that of “higher” centres, its primary role in attention is more “peripheral” and specific in controlling orienting/localisation via eye and body movements toward egocentrically labelled spatial positions. In addition, the colliculus may exert a nonspecific influence in alerting higher centres to the imminence of information potentially worthy of focal attention. Nevertheless, it is noteworthy that collicular and hippocampal lesions produce deficits on similar tasks, although the type of deficit is usually different in each case. Functional overlap between hippocampus and colliculus is virtually certain vis-à-vis stimulus sampling, for example in the acquisition of information via vibrissal movements and visual scanning. In addition, insofar as stimulus significance is a factor in collicular orienting mechanisms, the hippocampus — cingulate – cortex — colliculus pathway may play a significant role, modulating collicular responsiveness and thus ensuring an attentional strategy appropriate to current requirements. A tentative “reciprocal loop” model is proposed which bridges physiological and behavioural levels of analysis and which would account for the observed degree and nature of functional overlap between the superior colliculus and hippocampus.
Keywords attention   hippocampus   hyperactivity   inhibition   lesions   orientation   spatial learning   stimulus scanning   superior colliculus   theoretical models   theta rhythm
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DOI 10.1017/s0140525x00056521
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References found in this work BETA

Cognitive Maps in Rats and Men.Edward C. Tolman - 1948 - Psychological Review 55 (4):189-208.
Hippocampus, Space, and Memory.David S. Olton, James T. Becker & Gail E. Handelmann - 1979 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 2 (3):313-322.

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