Cognitive Maps Seminar
posted on September 19, 2022


Dr. Charley Wu (charley[dot]wu[at]uni-tuebingen[dot]de)
Dr. Philipp Schwartenbeck (philipp[dot]schwartenbeck[at]tuebingen[dot]mpg[dot]de)

Teaching Assistant

Noémi Éltető (noemi[dot]elteto[at]tuebingen[dot]mpg[dot]de)

General Information

Location: 4th floor or ground floor seminar room (see schedule), AI building, Maria-von-Linden-Str. 6, D-72076 Tübingen
Class time: Wednesdays 16:30-18:00 (Note the new start time)
Office Hours: Charley (Fridays 14:00-15:00)
Link to submit discussion questions (starting Nov 16th)
List of recommended papers for student-led presentations

Course description and prerequisites:

The aim is to discuss foundational ideas and current research on cognitive maps, which is an area of much current interest across neuroscientific and computational research fields. Originating in rodent navigation tasks, the concept of a “cognitive map” describes the biological and algorithmic mechanisms of storing and generalizing knowledge. Today, cognitive maps are associated with a host of specialized cell types in the hippocampal-entorhinal cortex, observed across a wide range of species, and across different spatial, conceptual, and diverse representational domains. Key open questions are how diverse experiences can be organized into a cognitive map, which then informs behavior in novel and complex settings.

The first half of the semester will be focused on teaching foundational concepts and research on the topic of cognitive maps and reinforcement learning. Then, we will switch to discussing current research trends and state of the art research for the second half of the semester. The instructors (Wu & Schwartenbeck) and guest speakers will lead the first sessions, and then students will be asked to prepare paper presentations for remaining sessions. Each class will take 2 hrs, and grading will be assigned on the basis of paper presentations and contributions to discussions.



Wednesdays from 16:30 - 18:00

Date Location Host Topic Required Readings
19. Oct 2022 4th floor Charley Introduction to cognitive maps (slides) Tolman, E. C. (1948). Cognitive maps in rats and men. Psychological review, 55(4), 189.
26. Oct 2022 4th floor Philipp What is a cognitive map? An overview of modern neuroscientific discoveries (slides) Epstein, R. A., Patai, E. Z., Julian, J. B., & Spiers, H. J. (2017). The cognitive map in humans: spatial navigation and beyond. Nature neuroscience, 20(11), 1504-1513.
2. Nov 2022 Ground floor Charley Introduction to Reinforcement Learning (slides) Niv, Y. (2009). Reinforcement learning in the brain. Journal of Mathematical Psychology, 53(3), 139–154. [Section 1 only]
Dolan, R. J., & Dayan, P. (2013). Goals and habits in the brain. Neuron, 80(2), 312–325. [Focus on generation 3]
9. Nov 2022 Ground floor Philipp Neuroscience of RL (slides) Lee, D., Seo, H., & Jung, M. W. (2012). Neural basis of reinforcement learning and decision making. Annual review of neuroscience, 35, 287.
16. Nov 2022 Ground floor Nir Moneta (MPI Berlin) Cognitive maps beyond spatial stimuli (slides) Doeller, C. F., Barry, C., & Burgess, N. (2010). Evidence for grid cells in a human memory network. Nature, 463(7281), 657-661.
23. Nov 2022 Ground floor Georgy Antonov (MPI BC) Linking memory and navigation (slides) Eichenbaum, H. (2017). On the integration of space, time, and memory. Neuron, 95(5), 1007-1018.
30. Nov 2022 Ground floor Noémi From maps to behavior and back again (slides) Stachenfeld, K. L., Botvinick, M. M., & Gershman, S. J. (2017). The hippocampus as a predictive map. Nature neuroscience, 20(11), 1643-1653.
7. Dec 2022 4th floor Philipp Group presentation 1: Aleksejs Timcenko, David Müller, Paula de Oliveira, & Ayberk Asik (slides) Peer, M., Brunec, I. K., Newcombe, N. S., & Epstein, R. A. (2021). Structuring knowledge with cognitive maps and cognitive graphs. Trends in cognitive sciences, 25(1), 37-54.
14. Dec 2022 Ground floor Charley Group presentation 2: Katja Schach, Paula Verde Puerto, & Franziska Gekeler (slides) Brunec, I. K., & Momennejad, I. (2022). Predictive representations in hippocampal and prefrontal hierarchies. Journal of Neuroscience, 42(2), 299-312.
11. Jan 2023 4th floor Charley Group presentation 3: Peter Wolters, & Simon Heuschkel (slides) He, Q., Liu, J. L., Eschapasse, L., Beveridge, E. H., & Brown, T. I. (2022). A comparison of reinforcement learning models of human spatial navigation. Scientific Reports, 12(1), 1-11.
18. Jan 2023 Ground floor Charley Group presentation 4: Yirong Xiong, Shweta Prasad, Ali Gholamzadeh, & Dennis Grötzinger (slides) Pouncy, T., Tsividis, P., & Gershman, S.J. (2021). What is the model in model-based planning? Cognitive Science, 45, e12928.
25. Jan 2023 4th floor Charley Group presentation 5: Jiatong Liu, Ruben Tammaro, Yuguang Lin, & Laura García (slides) Buzsáki G, Tingley D. Space and Time: The Hippocampus as a Sequence Generator. Trends Cogn Sci. 2018;22(10):853-869. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2018.07.006
1. Feb 2023 Ground floor Charley Group presentation 6: Paige Leerssen, Mark Bailey, Dan John, Chuyu Yang (slides) Webb, B. (2019). The internal maps of insects. Journal of Experimental Biology, 222(Suppl_1), jeb188094.
8. Feb 2023 4th floor Charley Group presentation 7: Lena Mehnert & Gabriela Iwama (slides) Eldar, E., Lièvre, G., Dayan, P., & Dolan, R. J. (2020). The roles of online and offline replay in planning. eLife.

Click here to download the syllabus as a PDF. Note that the schedule and links above will be the most up-to-date.