What is it about?

This paper presents an empirical and theoretical review of the most important studies that were done on path integration in both rodents and humans over the past 3 decades. Path integration is that special navigational ability that allows us to return to a point of origin in the absence of visible object or landmark cues. The central emphasis of this review article is on the path completion task paradigm that requires a moving agent (human or non-human) to move back to a starting point after passive locomotion on predesignated outbound paths of travel.

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Why is it important?

The current review article presented an overview of the most notable neuroscientific studies on visual path integration in humans, identified the commonalities and discrepancies in their findings, and introduced fresh ideas for future research. These new ideas emphasized the learning and implementation of different path integration strategies in order to determine the extent to which the hippocampus and entorhinal cortex are engaged during human path integration. To this end, major findings from recent studies investigating the impact of different path integration strategies on behavioral performance and functional brain activity were discussed. Methodological concerns were raised with feasible recommendations for improving the experimental design of future strategy-focused human path integration studies.


The advent of neuroimaging research on visual path integration has greatly improved our understanding of its underlying brain regions and networks, yet much remains to be explored about the relative involvement of MTL regions like the hippocampus and the entorhinal cortex in visual path integration. By identifying the need to do so in the context of path integration strategies, this article reviewed the most important works in the cognitive neuroscience literature on visual path integration to date and introduced feasible ideas to set neuroscience researchers on higher grounds for further investigations into the behavioral and brain mechanisms of path integration. It is hoped that researchers of future path integration and related navigational studies can assimilate the ideas and recommendations in this paper and translate them into real-world practical solutions that can benefit lives.

Dr. Jimmy Y. Zhong

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Neuroscience research on human visual path integration: Topical review of the path completion paradigm and underlying role of the hippocampal formation from a strategic perspective., Behavioral Neuroscience, December 2022, American Psychological Association (APA),
DOI: 10.1037/bne0000537.
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