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Stefan van der Stigchel, Isabel Arend, Martijn G. van Koningsbruggen, Robert D. Rafal; Oculomotor integration in patients with a pulvinar lesion. Journal of Vision 2011;11(11):545. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/11.11.545.
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The pulvinar nucleus of the thalamus, with its connections to visual areas and to frontal and parietal oculomotor cortex, might serve as a nexus for integrating cortical control of voluntary eye movements with reflexive eye movements generated by the superior colliculus. To investigate this hypothesis, we tested five patients with a unilateral lesion of the pulvinar on the oculomotor capture paradigm. In this task, participants have to ignore a distractor item and make a saccade to a target in a visual search display. Results showed that the interference of the distractor was stronger when it was presented contralateral to their lesion compared to when it was presented in the ipsilesional visual field. These findings were confirmed by an additional single case experiment in which we measured saccade trajectory deviations as evoked by a single distractor. These results show that the pulvinar is involved in the successful influence of higher-order signals (like our goals and intentions) on the guidance of our eye movements.
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