Reference work entry
The pulvinar (“cushion”) is a large nucleus that forms the posterior and dorsolateral portion of the thalamus bilaterally (Fig. 1). This thalamic nucleus is involved in behavioral orientation toward relevant stimuli, particularly directing visual attention (i.e., saccadic eye movement) toward visual stimuli (Blumenfeld 2002). The pulvinars lie posterior, medial, and dorsal to the lateral geniculate nucleus and partially “cover” the superior colliculus, and it surrounds the brachium of the superior colliculus, which connects the superior colliculus with the lateral geniculate body and optic track. The pulvinar is proportionally larger in higher mammals, particularly primates in which it occupies approximately two-fifths of the total volume of the thalamus. Most of what is known about the pulvinar has been learned from studies on cats and nonhuman primates, particularly macaques and rhesus monkeys. Much about the detailed anatomy and structure of the pulvinar remains unclear.
References and Readings
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- Ward, R., & Danziger, S. (2004). Selective attention and response control following damage to the human pulvinar. In G. W. Humphreys & M. J. Riddoch (Eds.), Attention in action (Vol. 1 (part 3), pp. 325–350). New York: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
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