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Behav Neurol. 2001-2002;13(3-4):95-104.

The effects of unilateral pulvinar damage in humans on reflexive orienting and filtering of irrelevant information.

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Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel.


The effects of damage to the pulvinar nucleus of the thalamus in humans on reflexive orienting and selective attention were investigated. In a spatial orienting task three patients with unilateral pulvinar damage determined the location of a visual target that followed a cue that was not informative as to the targets location. Contralesional targets were responded to more slowly than ipsilesional targets. Also, at long cue target intervals patients responses to contralesional targets that appeared at previously cued locations were slower than to non-cued locations indicating that pulvinar damage does not affect inhibition of return. In the selective attention task two of the patients identified a target that appeared at one level of a global-local hierarchical stimulus while ignoring a distractor present at the other level. The distractor indicated either the same response as the target or a different response. Response times to targets in both visual fields were similar as were interference effects from the ignored distractors. These data indicate that engaging attention contralesionally is not impaired in discrimination tasks and that filtering of irrelevant information was not impaired contralesionally.

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