Speed cells, a missing element in the brain’s dynamic map of space, have been discovered in rat brains by Emilio Kropff and his coworkers in the Moser group, at the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience and Centre for Neural Computation. The discovery is reported in an article in Nature.
Speed cells are cells whose firing rates increase linearly with the speed of the animal. The faster the animal is running, the faster the cells are spiking. These neurons provide information that is essential for the grid map to be updated, with no delay, in accordance with our changing position in the environment.
Speed cells have been predicted for years and the present work confirms current models of how grid cells operate to map our changing position in the environment.
The article in Nature: Speed cells in the medial entorhinal cortex