Typically, experiments designed to study grid cell activity involve an animal foraging randomly in a box or similar artificial environment. But Lisa Giocomo, a neurobiologist at Stanford University, was curious about whether something different might happen in the wild, where animals search for food more strategically, with specific goals and motivations in mind. There, for instance, they might use information from previous experiences to guide their search. Could these factors influence that “GPS” signal in the entorhinal cortex and connect it to something more than position alone?

Jordana Cepelewicz