Filtering; Gating; Inhibition
The thalamic gating mechanism is part of a complex cortico-subcortical network that collates sensory information from the brain and then selectively filters information that is relayed to the frontal lobes.
Thalamic disruption is often used to explain impaired executive behavior. Across animal and human studies, the thalamus is thought to have a major regulatory role in the cortical synchronization of behavior via the basal ganglia (Benarroch 2008; Steriade and Pare 2007). Several researchers have speculated that the inhibitory actions of the basal ganglia serve as a selective gating mechanism that updates and directs operations that are then fed back to the frontal lobes through the thalamus (Beiser and Houk 1998; Frank et al. 2001). When these structures are damaged, the frontal lobes cannot effectively function to filter information for an appropriate response.