Towards a Unified View on Pathways and Functions of Neural Recurrent Processing

Cyriel Pennartz, Shirin Dora, Lars Muckli, Jeannette Lorteije

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)
69 Downloads (Pure)


There are three neural feedback pathways to the primary visual cortex (V1): corticocortical, pulvinocortical, and cholinergic. What are the respective functions of these three projections? Possible functions range from contextual modulation of stimulus processing and feedback of high-level information to predictive processing (PP). How are these functions subserved by different pathways and can they be integrated into an overarching theoretical framework? We propose that corticocortical and pulvinocortical connections are involved in all three functions, whereas the role of cholinergic projections is limited by their slow response to stimuli. PP provides a broad explanatory framework under which stimulus-context modulation and high-level processing are subsumed, involving multiple feedback pathways that provide mechanisms for inferring and interpreting what sensory inputs are about.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)589-603
Number of pages15
JournalTrends in Neurosciences
Issue number9
Early online date6 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Sept 2019


  • predictive coding/processing
  • recurrent processing
  • contextual modulation
  • high-level feedback
  • neuromodulation
  • feedback
  • predictive processing
  • stimulus-context modulation
  • attention
  • V1


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