Nov 12, 2018

Sources of path integration error in young and aging humans

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Matthias StanglThomas Wolbers


Path integration is a vital function in navigation: it enables the continuous tracking of one's position in space by integrating self-motion cues. Path integration abilities vary across individuals but tend to deteriorate in old age. The specific causes of path integration errors, however, remain poorly characterized. Here, we combined tests of path integration performance with a novel analysis based on the Langevin diffusion equation, which allowed us to decompose errors into distinct causes that can corrupt path integration computations. Across age groups, the dominant errors were due to noise and a bias in speed estimation. Noise-driven errors accumulated with travel distance not elapsed time, suggesting that the dominant noise originates in the velocity input rather than within the integrator. Age-related declines were traced primarily to a growth in this unbiased noise. Together, these findings shed light on the contributors to path integration error and the mechanisms underlying age-related navigational deficits.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Positioning Attribute
Diffusion Weighted Imaging
Integrator, veterinary brand name drug
Anatomical Space Structure
DNA Integration

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