Unraveling circuits of visual perception and cognition through the superior colliculus. Neuron. 2021.
The superior colliculus is a conserved sensorimotor structure that integrates visual and other sensory information to drive reflexive behaviors. Although the evidence for this is strong and compelling, a number of experiments reveal a role for the superior colliculus in behaviors usually associated with the cerebral cortex, such as attention and decision-making. Indeed, in addition to collicular outputs targeting brainstem regions controlling movements, the superior colliculus also has ascending projections linking it to forebrain structures including the basal ganglia and amygdala, highlighting the fact that the superior colliculus, with its vast inputs and outputs, can influence processing throughout the neuraxis. Today, modern molecular and genetic methods combined with sophisticated behavioral assessments have the potential to make significant breakthroughs in our understanding of the evolution and conservation of neuronal cell types and circuits in the superior colliculus that give rise to simple and complex behaviors.