Oculomotor developmental pathology: an ‘evo-devo’ perspective

Chris Harris

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 developmental pathology: an ‘evo-devo’ perspective

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  • Cognitive Psychology
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Human oculomotor developmental anomalies are difficult to explain in terms of causal events (such as lesions). Here we use ideas from evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo) such as developmental plasticity and modularity to propose a framework for understanding early visuomotor development and sensitive periods in terms of the cost of phenotypic plasticity, using an optimality approach. With this framework, we explore two developmental disorders: infantile nystagmus syndrome (congenital nystagmus) and saccade initiation failure (ocular motor apraxia) as two examples of adaptive developmental plasticity in gaze maintenance and gaze shifting, with and without sensitive periods. We propose that early oculomotor developmental disorders can be understood as products of developmental plasticity in extreme environments constrained by modularity.

Keywords: oculomotor developmental pathologies; phenotypic plasticity; gaze-maintenance; infantile nystagmus syndrome; gaze-shifting; saccade initiation failure

Article.  15543 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience

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