DOI: 10.1093/cercor/bhad486 ISSN: 1047-3211

A neural circuit for spatial orientation derived from brain lesions

Moshe Roseman, Uri Elias, Isaiah Kletenik, Michael A Ferguson, Michael D Fox, Zalman Horowitz, Gad A Marshall, Hugo J Spiers, Shahar Arzy
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


There is disagreement regarding the major components of the brain network supporting spatial cognition. To address this issue, we applied a lesion mapping approach to the clinical phenomenon of topographical disorientation. Topographical disorientation is the inability to maintain accurate knowledge about the physical environment and use it for navigation. A review of published topographical disorientation cases identified 65 different lesion sites. Our lesion mapping analysis yielded a topographical disorientation brain map encompassing the classic regions of the navigation network: medial parietal, medial temporal, and temporo-parietal cortices. We also identified a ventromedial region of the prefrontal cortex, which has been absent from prior descriptions of this network. Moreover, we revealed that the regions mapped are correlated with the Default Mode Network sub-network C. Taken together, this study provides causal evidence for the distribution of the spatial cognitive system, demarking the major components and identifying novel regions.

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