2018 Leaton Lecturer Rebecca Burwell

The 2018 Leaton Lecturer, Rebecca Burwell, visited PBS on Friday, November 16.  Professor Burwell is a Professor in the Department of Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences at Brown University, with a secondary appointment in the Department of Neuroscience.  Despite an early season snow storm, her lecture entitled "The Neural Bases of Spatial Context: Beyond the Hippocampus" was well attended.  While she was in Hanover, Professsor Burwell also met with various faculty and had lunch with a group of ten post doctoral fellows and graduate students to discuss both her research and issues related to women in science.  Professor Burwell is an award-winning mentor and the current editor-in-chief of Behavioral Neuroscience.  Thank you to Professor Burwell for joining us.


"The Neural Bases of Spatial Context: Beyond the Hippocampus"

Representations of context are important for perception, memory, decision-making, and other cognitive processes. Yet, there is disagreement about how and where context is represented in the brain. A prominent theory of the medial temporal lobe memory system posits that object information reaches the hippocampus via the perirhinal cortex, spatial and contextual information arrive via the postrhinal cortex, and the hippocampus binds object and spatial information into memories. By one view, the spatial pathway conveys both spatial and contextual information. By another view, representations of context are configured in the hippocampus, itself. I will present evidence that spatial context is represented upstream of the hippocampus in the postrhinal cortex and that these representations rely on spatial information arriving directly from the posterior parietal and retrosplenial cortices together with nonspatial input arriving directly from the perirhinal cortex.