Interaction of Cortex and Superior Colliculus in Mediation of Visually Guided Behavior in the Cat

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Science  23 Sep 1966:
Vol. 153, Issue 3743, pp. 1544-1547
DOI: 10.1126/science.153.3743.1544


Total contralateral hemianopia follows unilateral removal of the entire occipito-temporal neocortex in the cat. This deficit is classically ascribed to interruption of visual radiations serving cortical function ("cortical blindness") and is considered permanent. Return of vision to the hemianopic field after subsequent removal of the superior colliculus contralateral to the cortical lesion demonstrates that neither assumption is correct. The initial hemianopia is apparently due to depression of function of the colliculus ipsilateral to the cortical lesion, a de- pression maintained by influx of inhibition from the crossed colliculus. Thus, removal of the contralateral tectum, or splitting of the collicular commissure, abolishes this inhibition and allows the return of function in the ipsilateral colliculus, and with it the recovery fronm hemianopia. These findings emphasize that visually guided behavior is mediated at both cortical and midbrain levels, and that there is a marked interaction between these sites.