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Keywords:

  • Spatial navigation;
  • Allocentric;
  • Egocentric;
  • Reference frame;
  • Electroencephalography (EEG);
  • ICA

Abstract

The present study investigated the brain dynamics accompanying spatial navigation based on distinct reference frames. Participants preferentially using an allocentric or an egocentric reference frame navigated through virtual tunnels and reported their homing direction at the end of each trial based on their spatial representation of the passage. Task-related electroencephalographic (EEG) dynamics were analyzed based on independent component analysis (ICA) and subsequent clustering of independent components. Parietal alpha desynchronization during encoding of spatial information predicted homing performance for participants using an egocentric reference frame. In contrast, retrosplenial and occipital alpha desynchronization during retrieval covaried with homing performance of participants using an allocentric reference frame. These results support the assumption of distinct neural networks underlying the computation of distinct reference frames and reveal a direct relationship of alpha modulation in parietal and retrosplenial areas with encoding and retrieval of spatial information for homing behavior.