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Menegaux, Aurore; Napiorkowski, Natan; Neitzel, Julia; Ruiz-Rizzo, Adriana L. ORCID: 0000-0003-1467-0745; Petersen, Anders; Müller, Hermann J. ORCID: 0000-0002-4774-5654; Sorg, Christian; Finke, Kathrin (15. July 2019): Theory of visual attention thalamic model for visual short-term memory capacity and top-down control: Evidence from a thalamo-cortical structural connectivity analysis. In: Neuroimage, Vol. 195: pp. 67-77
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Abstract

In the theory of visual attention (TVA), it is suggested that objects in a visual scene compete for representation in a visual short-term memory (vSTM) store. The race towards the store is assumed to be biased by top-down controlled weighting of the objects according to their task relevance. Only objects that reach the store before its capacity limitation is reached are represented consciously in a given instant. TVA-based computational modeling of participants' performance in whole-and partial-report tasks permits independent parameters of individual efficiency of top-down control a and vSTM storage capacity K to be extracted. The neural interpretation of the TVA proposes recurrent loops between the posterior thalamus and posterior visual cortices to be relevant for generating attentional weights for competing objects and for maintaining selected objects in vSTM. Accordingly, we tested whether structural connectivity between posterior thalamus and occipital cortices (PT-OC) is associated with estimates of top-down control and vSTM capacity. We applied whole-and partial-report tasks and probabilistic tractography in a sample of 37 healthy adults. We found vSTM capacity K to be associated with left PT-OC structural connectivity and a trend-wise relation between top-down control a and right PT-OC structural connectivity. These findings support the assumption of the relevance of thalamic structures and their connections to visual cortex for top-down control and vSTM capacity.