Deficits in spatial coding and feature binding following damage to spatiotopic maps in the human pulvinar

Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Wales, Bangor LL57 2AS, UK.
Nature Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 16.1). 03/2002; 5(2):99-100. DOI: 10.1038/nn794
Source: PubMed


We report a patient with unilateral damage to the rostral part of the pulvinar who was impaired in localizing stimuli in the inferior visual field contralateral to the lesion and who made errors in the binding of shape and color in that quadrant. The findings demonstrate the importance of the pulvinar in spatial coding and provide support for the function of the thalamus in binding of features. They also provide evidence for a homology between the visual field maps of the inferior and lateral subdivisions of the pulvinar in monkeys and in humans, such that the inferior visual field is represented in the rostral part of the nucleus.

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Available from: Shai Danziger, Mar 06, 2015
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    • "Kastner et al. (2004) report BOLD signal increases in the pulvinar to target stimuli during attention during bilateral but not unilateral stimulus presentation, compatible with distractor filtering on a coarse spatial scale. Ward et al. (2002) demonstrated that a patient with a rostral lesion of the right pulvinar produced more illusory conjunctions of color and form (Treisman and Schmidt, 1982) in the contra-versus the ipsilesional visual hemifield, suggesting inefficient filtering of color and form features from distractors . Finally, patients with ventral pulvinar lesions were shown to display an enhanced threshold for discriminating the orientation of a gabor-grating flanked by high luminance contrast distractors in the contralesional versus the ipsilesional visual hemifields (Snow et al., 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: The pulvinar nuclei of the thalamus are hypothesized to coordinate attentional selection in the visual cortex. Different models have, however, been proposed for the precise role of the pulvinar in attention. One proposal is that the pulvinar mediates shifts of spatial attention; a different proposal is that it serves the filtering of distractor information. At present, the relation between these possible operations and their relative importance in the pulvinar remains unresolved. We address this issue by contrasting these proposals in two fMRI experiments. We used a visual search paradigm that permitted us to dissociate neural activity reflecting shifts of attention from activity underlying distractor filtering. We find that distractor filtering, but not the operation of shifting attention, is associated with strong activity enhancements in dorsal and ventral regions of the pulvinar as well as in early visual cortex areas including the primary visual cortex. Our observations indicate that distractor filtering is the preponderant attentional operation subserved by the pulvinar, presumably mediated by a modulation of processing in visual areas where spatial resolution is sufficiently high to separate target from distractor input. Hum Brain Mapp, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Full-text · Article · May 2013 · Human Brain Mapping
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    • "More generally, patients with pulvinar lesions present with deficits in coding spatial information in the contralesional visual field. They have difficulty localizing stimuli in the affected visual space and these difficulties extend to the binding of visual features based on spatial information (Ward et al., 2002), which is one of the most fundamental operations that the visual system has to perform in order to integrate visual information across various feature dimensions. For example, these patients may have difficulties binding the appropriate color to each of multiple shapes that are presented simultaneously: a red square and a blue circle may be mistaken to be a blue square or red circle. "
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    ABSTRACT: The thalamus is classically viewed as passively relaying information to the cortex. However, there is growing evidence that the thalamus actively regulates information transmission to the cortex and between cortical areas using a variety of mechanisms, including the modulation of response magnitude, firing mode, and synchrony of neurons according to behavioral demands. We discuss how the visual thalamus contributes to attention, awareness, and visually guided actions, to present a general role for the thalamus in perception and cognition.
    Preview · Article · Jul 2011 · Neuron
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    • "She has residual left arm and leg weakness and sensory loss but can walk with a cane. The lesion is restricted to the anterior pulvinar affecting the most rostral and dorsal part of the topographic maps of the ventral pulvinar, and causes deficits restricted to the inferior left quadrant (Ward et al., 2002). The region damaged in the lateral, ventral and anterior 'corner' of the pulvinar corresponds to the locus of activation for contralateral pulvinar maps observed in a previous fMRI investigation (Morel, Magnin, & Jeanmonod, 1997). "
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    ABSTRACT: The pulvinar nucleus of the thalamus, with its connections to visual areas and to frontal and parietal oculomotor cortex, might serve as a nexus for integrating cortical control of voluntary eye movements with reflexive eye movements generated by the superior colliculus. To investigate this hypothesis, we tested five patients with a unilateral lesion of the pulvinar on the oculomotor capture paradigm. In this task, participants have to ignore a distractor item and make a saccade to a target in a visual search display. Results showed that the interference of the distractor was stronger when it was presented contralateral to their lesion compared to when it was presented in the ipsilesional visual field. These findings were confirmed by an additional single case experiment in which we measured saccade trajectory deviations as evoked by a single distractor. These results show that the pulvinar is involved in the successful influence of higher order signals (like our goals and intentions) on the guidance of our eye movements.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2010 · Neuropsychologia
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