While research in previous decades demonstrated a link between the pulvinar nucleus of the thalamus and visual selective attention, the pulvinar's specific functional role has remained elusive. However, methodological advances in electrophysiological recordings in non-human primates, including simultaneous recordings in multiple brain regions, have recently begun to reveal the pulvinar's functional contributions to selective attention. These new findings suggest that the pulvinar is critical for the efficient transmission of sensory information within and between cortical regions, both synchronizing cortical activity across brain regions and controlling cortical excitability. These new findings further suggest that the pulvinar's influence on cortical processing is embedded in a dynamic selection process that balances sensory and motor functions within the large-scale network that directs selective attention.
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