Maintaining spatial orientation while travelling requires integrating spatial information encountered from an egocentric viewpoint with accumulated information represented within egocentric and/or allocentric reference frames. Here, we report changes in high-density EEG activity during a virtual tunnel passage task in which subjects respond to a postnavigation homing challenge in distinctly different ways—either compatible with a continued experience of the virtual environment from a solely egocentric perspective or as if also maintaining their original entrance orientation, indicating use of a parallel allocentric reference frame. By spatially filtering the EEG data using independent component analysis, we found that these two equal subject subgroups exhibited differences in EEG power spectral modulation during tunnel passages in only a few cortical areas. During tunnel turns, stronger alpha blocking occurred only in or near right primary visual cortex of subjects whose homing responses were compatible with continued use of an egocentric reference frame. In contrast, approaching and during tunnel turns, subjects who responded in a way compatible with use of an allocentric reference frame exhibited stronger alpha blocking of occipito-temporal, bilateral inferior parietal, and retrosplenial cortical areas, all areas implicated by hemodynamic imaging and neuropsychological observation in construction and maintenance of an allocentric reference frame. We conclude that in these subjects, stronger activation of retrosplenial and related cortical areas during turns support a continuous translation of egocentrically experienced visual flow into an allocentric model of their virtual position and movement.

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