We review results on the in vivo properties of neurons in the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus (dLGN) that receives its afferent input from the retina and projects to the visual cortex. In addition, the dLGN receives input from the brain stem and from a rather strong corticothalamic back–projection, which originates in layer 6 of the visual cortex. We compare the behaviour of dLGN cells during spontaneous changes of the frequency contents of the electroencephalograph (EEG) (which are mainly related to a changing brain stem influence), with those that are obtained when experimentally silencing the corticothalamic feedback. The spatial and temporal response properties of dLGN cells are compared during these two conditions, and we report that the neurons behave similarly during a synchronized EEG state and during inactive corticothalamic feedback. In both situations, dLGN cells are rather phasic and their remaining tonic activity is temporally dispersed, indicating a hyperpolarizing effect. By means of a novel method, we were able to chronically eliminate a large proportion of the corticothalamic projection neurons from the otherwise intact cortex. In this condition, we found that cortical cells also lose their EEG specific response differences but, in this instance, probably due to a facilitatory (depolarizing) plasticity reaction of the remaining network.