Cognitive and perceptual functions of the visual thalamus

Neuron. 2011 Jul 28;71(2):209-23. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2011.06.027.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Attention / physiology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Perception / physiology*
  • Thalamus / physiology*
  • Visual Pathways / physiology