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No representation of allocentric space has been found in the brain Critically evaluate this statement The question of how animals and humans navigate is a fundamental research problem upon which there has been much experimentation and debate and so it is necessary to refine the title to a specific point As Tolman 1948 established that rats can solve spatial problems too complex for a purely stimulus-response system to solve and that therefore some kind of neural map is necessary for navigation this essay will basically address the question of whether the brain forms an allocentric which is independent of the organism or an egocentric based on the organisms own perception of the surroundings view of the environment For the purpose of simplicity this essay will concern itself with only the brain of a rat This essay will thus discuss the evolution of relevant behaviourist and neurophysiological theories the most important being OKeefe 1991 Muller Kubie Bostock Taube and Quirk 1991 and Rolls 1991 The behaviourist theories proposed that a reward or aversive objectevent will motivate a rat to move towards or away from the location along a reward gradient and this has been shown to be the case with rats in a maze situation OKeefe 1983 Indeed this situation does not require the rat to have a concept of absolute space it may depend on associations between cues and responses which are provided by the maze structure itself However OKeefe Nadel 1978 identified spatial behaviours which they argued would require the existence of an allocentric map detection of changes within the environment navigation to the goal from a different starting location and perhaps most importantly detour behaviour which required the adaptation of novel behaviour to find the goal after the usual route had been blocked in some way Further support was added by Collett et al 1986 They trained gerbils to find seeds located
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