Oculomotor behaviour in vertebrates and invertebrates

Michael F. Land

in The Oxford Handbook of Eye Movements

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199539789
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Oculomotor behaviour in vertebrates and invertebrates

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  • Cognitive Psychology
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Humans use a ‘saccade and fixate’ strategy when viewing the world, with information gathered during stabilized fixations, and saccades used to shift gaze direction as rapidly as possible. This strategy is shared by nearly all vertebrates, whether or not their eyes possess foveas. Remarkably, the same combination is found in many invertebrates with eyes that resolve well. Cephalopod molluscs, decapod crustaceans, and most insects stabilize their eyes, head, or body against rotation while in motion, and also make fast gaze-shifting saccades. Praying mantids, like primates, are also capable of smooth tracking. Other invertebrates have eyes in which the retina is a long narrow strip, and these make scanning movements at right angles to the strip. These include heteropod sea-snails, certain copepods, jumping spiders, mantis shrimps, and some water beetle larvae. Scanning speeds are always just slow enough for resolution not to be compromised.

Keywords: human eye movement; saccade and fixate strategy; oculomotor behaviours; vertebrate; gaze movements

Article.  6901 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience

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