Integration of objects and space in perception and memory

Nat Neurosci. 2017 Oct 26;20(11):1493-1503. doi: 10.1038/nn.4657.


Distinct processing of objects and space has been an organizing principle for studying higher-level vision and medial temporal lobe memory. Here, however, we discuss how object and spatial information are in fact closely integrated in vision and memory. The ventral, object-processing visual pathway carries precise spatial information, transformed from retinotopic coordinates into relative dimensions. At the final stages of the ventral pathway, including the dorsal anterior temporal lobe (TEd), object-sensitive neurons are intermixed with neurons that process large-scale environmental space. TEd projects primarily to perirhinal cortex (PRC), which in turn projects to lateral entorhinal cortex (LEC). PRC and LEC also combine object and spatial information. For example, PRC and LEC neurons exhibit place fields that are evoked by landmark objects or the remembered locations of objects. Thus, spatial information, on both local and global scales, is deeply integrated into the ventral (temporal) object-processing pathway in vision and memory.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Space Perception / physiology*
  • Vision, Ocular / physiology*
  • Visual Pathways / physiology