Sep 1, 2012

The role of the dorsal thalamus in visual processing and object selection: a case of an attentional system in amphibians

The European Journal of Neuroscience
Tim Ruhl, U Dicke

Abstract

In amphibians, the midbrain tectum is regarded as the visual centre for object recognition but the functional role of forebrain centres in visual information processing is less clear. In order to address this question, the dorsal thalamus was lesioned in the salamander Plethodon shermani, and the effects on orienting behaviour or on visual processing in the tectum were investigated. In a two-alternative-choice task, the average number of orienting responses toward one of two competing prey or simple configural stimuli was significantly decreased in lesioned animals compared to that of controls and sham-lesioned animals. When stimuli were presented during recording from tectal neurons, the number of spikes on presentation of a stimulus in the excitatory receptive field and a second salient stimulus in the surround was significantly reduced in controls and sham-lesioned salamanders compared to single presentation of the stimulus in the excitatory receptive field, while this inhibitory effect on the number of spikes of tectal neurons was absent in thalamus-lesioned animals. In amphibians, the dorsal thalamus is part of the second visual pathway which extends from the tectum via the thalamus to the telencephalon. A feedback loop to...Continue Reading

  • References24
  • Citations3

Mentioned in this Paper

Amphibians
Optic Tract Structure
Visual System
Biochemical Pathway
Optic Lobe, Human
Salicylhydroxamic acid
Pattern Recognition, Visual
Neurons
Visual Fields
Telencephalon

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