Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
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Theme 3: Plasticity and Memory

Neural Correlates of Spatial Memory

Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and BehaviourIn everyday life we navigate through known and unknown spatial environments. We have to learn how to find our way back, make a detour around a barrier or find a shortcut.

The ability to remember the spatial surroundings and to communicate about space has been crucial to human adaptation and survival. The central theme of our research group is to investigate the development of spatial skills, the underlying neural correlates of spatial representations and spatial wayfinding mechanisms, spatial language and their linkage. We investigate healthy adults and children using a combination of different methods, FMRI, EEG, measurement of eye-movements, response times as well as navigational behaviour collected during initial and repeated spatial cue learning and wayfinding.

Our research provides new insight into the nature of human spatial thinking for children and adults.

Name; Gabriele Janzen
Telephone: 024-3614668
Fax: 024-3610989
Visiting address: Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging
Kapittelweg 29
6525 EN Nijmegen
The Netherlands
Postal address: Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging
P.O. Box 9101
6500 HB Nijmegen
The Netherlands
Key grants and prizes
  • Vidi Grant from The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research NWO (Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek, Gebied Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen) “Spatial memory” (2007)
  • ERC Starting Independent Researcher Grant from the European Commission “Neural correlates of spatial memory in children and adults” (2007)
  • Aspasia Premie from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research NWO (2009)
  • NWO Brain & Cognition Program together with Janet van Hell, James McQueen and Atsuko Takashima. “Magic moments in word learning: Memory formation and consolidation across ages and language settings” (2010)
Key publications
  • Janzen G, Haun DBM, Levinson SC. Tracking down abstract linguistic meaning: Neural correlates of spatial frame of reference ambiguities in language. PLoS One. 2012 (7): e30657.
  • Wegman J, Janzen G. The neural processing of spatial information during learning and rest. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 2011, 23: 3841-3854.
  • Janzen G, Jansen C. A neural wayfinding mechanism adjusts for ambiguous landmark information. NeuroImage, 2010, 52: 364–370.
  • Janzen, G., Wagensveld, B., & van Turennout, M. (2007). Neural representation of navigational relevance is rapidly induced and long-lasting. Cerebral Cortex, 17, 975-981
  • Janzen, G. & van Turennout, M. (2004). Selective neural representation of objects relevant for navigation. Nature Neuroscience, 7, 673-677.



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Theme 3:
Plasticity and Memory

Research Group
Neural Correlates of Spatial Memory

Associate Principal Investigator
Dr. G. Janzen

Group members

PhD Students
Claudia van Dun