Examines the two-way relationships between the thalamus and the
cerebral cortex; with updated material and a new chapter on the
link between perception and action. The thalamus plays a critical
role in perceptual processing, but many questions remain about what
thalamic activities contribute to sensory and motor functions. In
this book, two pioneers in research on the thalamus examine the
close two-way relationships between thalamus and cerebral cortex
and look at the distinctive functions of the links between the
thalamus and the rest of the brain. Countering the dominant
"corticocentric" approach to understanding the cerebral
cortex-which does not recognize that all neocortical areas receive
important inputs from the thalamus and send outputs to lower motor
centers-S. Murray Sherman and R.W. Guillery argue for a reappraisal
of the way we think about the cortex and its interactions with the
rest of the brain. The book defines some of the functional
categories critical to understanding thalamic functions, including
the distinctions between drivers (pathways that carry messages to
the cortex) and modulators (which can change the pattern of
transmission) and between first-order and higher-order thalamic
relays-the former receiving ascending drivers and the latter
receiving cortical drivers. This second edition further develops
these distinctions with expanded emphasis throughout the book on
the role of the thalamus in cortical function. An important new
chapter suggests a structural basis for linking perception and
action, supplying supporting evidence for a link often overlooked
in current views of perceptual processing.
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