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J Neurosci. 1990 Feb;10(2):613-9.

Positron emission tomographic measurements of pulvinar activity during an attention task.

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  • 1Department of Cognitive Science, University of California, Irvine 92717.


Positron emission tomographic scans were recorded from human subjects following an object-identification task, one version of which required attentional selection and the other version of which did not. In one experimental session, the attention-demanding displays were presented in the left visual field and the nonattention displays were presented in the right visual field. In a second session, the sides of the displays were reversed. Analysis of the scans indicated that, averaged across the 2 sessions, the pulvinar showed greater glucose uptake when it was contralateral to the display of the selective attention task than when it was contralateral to the display of the nonattention task. The pattern of the data indicated that the degree of the attention task effect on pulvinar glucose uptake may differ between the hemispheres. In view of known connections between the pulvinar and cortical areas that mediate object identification, the present finding suggests that the pulvinar operates interactively with these cortical structures when an identification process demands selective attention.

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