New research suggests we may use the same neurons to map time and space, reports The Atlantic.
The findings help to broaden our understanding of how the brain’s memory and navigation systems work. Perhaps both grid cells and other GPS-like cells aren’t tuned only to space but are capable of encoding any relevant property: time, smell, or even taste. “It probably points to a broad thing the hippocampus does,” said Loren Frank, a neuroscientist at the University of California, San Francisco, who studies memory and the hippocampus. “It figures out the relevant axis for encoding experiences and then uses the cells to map those experiences.”