Parahippocampal and retrosplenial contributions to human spatial navigation

Trends Cogn Sci. 2008 Oct;12(10):388-96. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2008.07.004. Epub 2008 Aug 28.


Spatial navigation is a core cognitive ability in humans and animals. Neuroimaging studies have identified two functionally defined brain regions that activate during navigational tasks and also during passive viewing of navigationally relevant stimuli such as environmental scenes: the parahippocampal place area (PPA) and the retrosplenial complex (RSC). Recent findings indicate that the PPA and RSC have distinct and complementary roles in spatial navigation, with the PPA more concerned with representation of the local visual scene and RSC more concerned with situating the scene within the broader spatial environment. These findings are a first step towards understanding the separate components of the cortical network that mediates spatial navigation in humans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Parahippocampal Gyrus / physiology*
  • Recognition, Psychology
  • Space Perception / physiology*
  • Spatial Behavior / physiology*
  • Visual Pathways / physiology