A neural basis for developmental topographic disorientation

Jiye G. Kim, Elissa M. Aminoff, Sabine Kastner, Marlene Behrmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Developmental topographic disorientation (DTD) is a life-long condition in which affected individuals are severely impaired in navigating around their environment. Individuals with DTD have no apparent structural brain damage on conventional imaging and the neural mechanisms underlying DTD are currently unknown. Using functional and diffusion tensor imaging, we present a comprehensive neuroimaging study of an individual, J.N., with well defined DTD. J.N. has intact scene-selective responses in the parahippocampal place area (PPA), transverse occipital sulcus, and retrosplenial cortex (RSC), key regions associated with scene perception and navigation. However, detailed fMRI studies probing selective tuning properties of these regions, as well as functional connectivity, suggest that J.N.’s RSC has an atypical response profile and an atypical functional coupling to PPA compared with human controls. This deviant functional profile of RSC is not due to compromised structural connectivity. This comprehensive examination suggests that the RSC may play a key role in navigation-related processing and that an alteration of the RSC’s functional properties may serve as the neural basis for DTD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12954-12969
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number37
StatePublished - Sep 16 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience


  • Developmental topographic disorientation
  • Navigation
  • Parahippocampal place area
  • Retrosplenial cortex
  • Scene perception
  • Transverse occipital sulcus


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