Journal article

The influence of subcortical shortcuts on disordered sensory and cognitive processing

Jessica McFadyen, Raymond J Dolan, Marta I Garrido

Nature Reviews Neuroscience | NATURE RESEARCH | Published : 2020


The very earliest stages of sensory processing have the potential to alter how we perceive and respond to our environment. These initial processing circuits can incorporate subcortical regions, such as the thalamus and brainstem nuclei, which mediate complex interactions with the brain's cortical processing hierarchy. These subcortical pathways, many of which we share with other animals, are not merely vestigial but appear to function as 'shortcuts' that ensure processing efficiency and preservation of vital life-preserving functions, such as harm avoidance, adaptive social interactions and efficient decision-making. Here, we propose that functional interactions between these higher-order an..

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Awarded by Wellcome Trust

Awarded by University of Queensland

Funding Acknowledgements

R.J.D. and J.M. were supported by the Wellcome Trust (098362/A/12/Z and 091593/Z/10/Z) and M.I.G. by the University of Queensland (2016000071). The authors thank the reviewers for their insightful comments on the manuscript, J. B. Mattingley for his helpful discussions and all of the researchers who conducted the experiments discussed in this Review. Finally, they especially thank the late patient T.N., whose generosity and willingness to help has made a significant and lasting impact on our understanding of blindsight in the human brain.