Granger R, Hearn R (2007). Models of the thalamocortical system. Scholarpedia, 1796.
Granger R, Hearn R
The thalamocortical system constitutes the vast majority of the mammalian brain, and increases disproportionately (allometrically) with overall brain size. Commensurate with its size, the thalamocortical system has been the subject of extensive neurobiological and computational study.
The thalamus and the neocortex are reciprocally connected via pathways of varying levels of topography. In addition, many areas of cortex and thalamus participate in a cortico-striato-pallido-thalamocortical loop. This article considers possible computational roles for these two kinds of loops (direct, and integrally involving the basal ganglia). In this article "thalamus" without qualification refers to the mammalian dorsal thalamus.
Elucidation of computational function relies on accurate anatomical and physiological data, which this article will begin by surveying. It should be noted that much of the neuroanatomy of thalamocortical pathways is incompletely mapped, leaving many topics of ongoing research, some of which will be noted