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It has been suggested that some cortically blind patients can process the emotional valence of visual stimuli via a fast, subcortical pathway from the superior colliculus (SC) that reaches the amygdala via the pulvinar. I shall presentin vivo evidence for connectivity between the SC and the amygdala via the pulvinar in both humans and rhesus macaques. Probabilistic DTI tractography revealed a streamlined path that passes dorsolaterally through the pulvinar before arcing rostrally to traverse above the temporal horn of the lateral ventricle and connect to the lateral amygdala. To obviate artifactual connectivity with crossing fibres of the stria terminalis, the stria was also dissected. The putative streamline between the SC and amygdala traverses above the temporal horn dorsal to the stria terminalis and is positioned medial to it in humans and lateral to it in monkeys. The topography of the streamline was examined in relation to lesion anatomy in five patients who had previously participated in behavioral experiments studying the processing of emotionally valenced visual stimuli. The pulvinar lesion interrupted the streamline in two patients who had exhibited contralesional processing deficits and spared the streamline in three patients who had no deficit. I’ll also present preliminary results from an experiment that showed an oculomotor bias to orient toward pictures of threatening stimuli and that examined whether this behavioural bias across individual participants is predicted by the connectivity strength of the two streamlines.

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