Rethinking the hippocampal cognitive map as a meta-learning computational module
A hallmark of biological intelligence is the ability to adaptively draw on past experience to guide behaviour under novel situations. Yet, the neurobiological principles that underlie this form of meta-learning remain relatively unexplored. In this Opinion, we review the existing literature on hippocampal spatial representations and reinforcement learning theory and describe a novel theoretical framework that aims to account for biological meta-learning. We conjecture that so-called hippocampal cognitive maps of familiar environments are part of a larger metarepresentation (meta-map) that encodes information states and sources, which support exploration and provides a foundation for learning. We also introduce concrete hypotheses on how these generic states can be encoded using a principle of superposition.
H. Freyja Ólafsdóttir
hippocampus, memory, meta-learning, meta-reinforcement learning, place cells, replay, spatial navigation