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Title: The role of the fornix in spatial orientation, navigation and scene perception
Author: Stefani, Martina
ISNI:       0000 0004 7426 6354
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2017
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Spatial cognition is a multi-faceted domain that requires the support of a complex brain network. Moving beyond the role of the medial temporal lobe in memory, a growing body of literature suggested that the extended hippocampal network is critically involved in scene processing and in the formation of egocentric and allocentric references. Applying a combination of MRI techniques, the main goal of this thesis was to provide evidence about the specific contribution of the fornix and the hippocampus to different spatial skills. Different groups of healthy individuals were recruited for each study and underwent MRI scans. For each participant, diffusion MRI metrics of the fornix (fractional anisotropy, FA, and mean diffusivity, MD) were extracted. These were then correlated across subjects with the behavioural performance on spatial tasks. Specifically, Chapters III and IV aimed to investigate the involvement of the fornix in spatial orientation and spatial learning. The results showed significant correlations with the performance on the Spatial Orientation task (SOT) and with the curve learning obtained from the Virtual Reality Maze task (VRMt) suggesting a critical role of this white-matter tract in orientation and navigation. An fMRI repetition suppression paradigm was adopted in Chapter V to study the role of the HC in scene perception and the contribution of the fornix in viewpoint processing. However, the weak BOLD activity registered in the hippocampus and the lack of significant results suggested that further work is required to clarify the spatial representation formed by this area.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology