A generative model of the hippocampal formation trained with theta driven local learning rules

Published: 21 Sept 2023, Last Modified: 02 Nov 2023NeurIPS 2023 posterEveryoneRevisionsBibTeX
Keywords: hippocampus, path integration, local learning, generative models, oscillations, inference, Helmholtz machine, wake-sleep
TL;DR: A simple and biologically plausible generative model of the hippocampal formation accounts for a variety of cognitive functions
Abstract: Advances in generative models have recently revolutionised machine learning. Meanwhile, in neuroscience, generative models have long been thought fundamental to animal intelligence. Understanding the biological mechanisms that support these processes promises to shed light on the relationship between biological and artificial intelligence. In animals, the hippocampal formation is thought to learn and use a generative model to support its role in spatial and non-spatial memory. Here we introduce a biologically plausible model of the hippocampal formation tantamount to a Helmholtz machine that we apply to a temporal stream of inputs. A novel component of our model is that fast theta-band oscillations (5-10 Hz) gate the direction of information flow throughout the network, training it akin to a high-frequency wake-sleep algorithm. Our model accurately infers the latent state of high-dimensional sensory environments and generates realistic sensory predictions. Furthermore, it can learn to path integrate by developing a ring attractor connectivity structure matching previous theoretical proposals and flexibly transfer this structure between environments. Whereas many models trade-off biological plausibility with generality, our model captures a variety of hippocampal cognitive functions under one biologically plausible local learning rule.
Supplementary Material: pdf
Submission Number: 13497