Visual Discrimination in the Pigeon (Columba Livia): Effects of Selective Lesions of the Nucleus Rotundus

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Birds, Diencephalon, Nucleus rotundus, Stationary and motion discriminations, Visual pathway

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The nucleus rotundus is a large thalamic nucleus in birds and plays a critical role in many visual discrimination tasks. In order to test the hypothesis that there are functionally distinct subdivisions in the nucleus rotundus, effects of selective lesions of the nucleus were studied in pigeons. The birds were trained to discriminate between different types of stationary objects and between different directions of moving objects. Multiple regression analyses revealed that lesions in the anterior, but not posterior, division caused deficits in discrimination of small stationary stimuli. Lesions in neither the anterior nor posterior divisions predicted effects in discrimination of moving stimuli. These results are consistent with a prediction led from the hypothesis that the nucleus is composed of functional subdivisions.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

NeuroReport, v. 10, issue 5, p. 981–985