Abstract and Keywords
Neural mechanisms of selective attention route behaviourally relevant information through brain networks for detailed processing. These attention mechanisms are classically viewed as being solely implemented in the cortex, relegating the thalamus to a passive relay of sensory information. However, this passive view of the thalamus is being revised in light of recent studies supporting an important role for the thalamus in selective attention. Evidence suggests that the first-order thalamic nucleus, the lateral geniculate nucleus, regulates the visual information transmitted from the retina to visual cortex, while the higher-order thalamic nucleus, the pulvinar, regulates information transmission between visual cortical areas, according to attentional demands. This chapter discusses how modulation of thalamic responses, switching the response mode of thalamic neurons, and changes in neural synchrony across thalamo-cortical networks contribute to selective attention.
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