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Express Saccades & Attention: BBS Call for Commentators

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  • Express Saccades & Attention: BBS Call for Commentators

    Below is the abstract of a forthcoming target article by B. Fischer &
    H. Weber on express saccadic eye movements and attention. It has been
    accepted for publication in Behavioral and Brain Sciences (BBS), an
    international, interdisciplinary journal that provides Open Peer
    Commentary on important and controversial current research in the
    biobehavioral and cognitive sciences. Commentators must be current BBS
    Associates or nominated by a current BBS Associate. To be considered as
    a commentator on this article, to suggest other appropriate
    commentators, or for information about how to become a BBS Associate,
    please send email to: or harnad@pucc.bitnet or write to:
    BBS, 20 Nassau Street, #240, Princeton NJ 08542 [tel: 609-921-7771]

    To help us put together a balanced list of commentators, please give some
    indication of the aspects of the topic on which you would bring your
    areas of expertise to bear if you were selected as a commentator. An
    electronic draft of the full text is available for inspection by anonymous
    ftp according to the instructions that follow after the abstract.
    __________________________________________________ __________________


    B. Fischer and H. Weber
    Department Neurophysiology
    Hansastr. 9
    D - 78 Freiburg
    Germany (c/o Franz Aiple)

    KEYWORDS: Eye movements, Saccade, Express Saccade, Vision, Fixation,
    Attention, Cortex, Reaction Time, Dyslexia

    ABSTRACT: One of the most intriguing and controversial observations in
    oculomotor research in recent years is the phenomenon of express
    saccades in man and monkey. These are saccades of so extremely short
    reaction times (100 ms in man, 70 ms in monkey) that some experts on
    eye movements still regard them as artifacts or anticipatory reactions
    that do not need any further explanation. On the other hand, some
    research groups consider them to be not only authentic but also a
    valuable means of investigating the mechanisms of saccade generation,
    the coordination of vision and eye movements, and the mechanisms of
    visual attention.

    This target article puts together pieces of experimental evidence in
    oculomotor and related research - with special emphasis on the express
    saccade - in order to enhance our present understanding of the
    coordination of vision, visual attention, and eye movements necessary
    for visual perception and cognition.

    We hypothethize that an optomotor reflex is responsible for the
    occurrence of express saccades, one that is controlled by higher brain
    functions of disengaged visual attention and decision making. We
    describe a neural network as a basis for more elaborate mathematical
    models and computer simulations of the optomotor system in primates.

    To help you decide whether you would be an appropriate commentator for
    this article, an electronic draft is retrievable by anonymous ftp from according to the instructions below (the filename is
    bbs.fischer). Please do not prepare a commentary on this draft. Just
    let us know, after having inspected it, what relevant expertise you
    feel you would bring to bear on what aspect of the article.
    To retrieve a file by ftp from a Unix/Internet site, type either:
    When you are asked for your login, type:
    Enter password as per instructions (make sure to include the specified @),
    and then change directories with:
    cd /pub/harnad
    To show the available files, type:
    Next, retrieve the file you want with (for example):
    get bbs.fischer
    When you have the file(s) you want, type:

    Certain non-Unix/Internet sites have a facility you can use that is
    equivalent to the above. Sometimes the procedure for connecting to will be a two step process such as:

    followed at the prompt by:

    In case of doubt or difficulty, consult your system manager.


    JANET users who do not have an ftp facilty for interactive file
    transfer (this requires a JIPS connection on your local machine -
    consult your system manager if in doubt) can use a similar facility
    available at JANET site UK.AC.NSF.SUN (numeric equivalent
    000040010180), logging in using 'guestftp' as both login and
    password. The online help information gives details of the transfer
    procedure which is similar to the above. The file received on the
    NSF.SUN machine needs to be transferred to your home machine to read
    it, which can be done either using a 'push' command on the NSF.SUN
    machine, or (usually faster) by initiating the file transfer from
    your home machine. In the latter case the file on the NSF.SUN machine
    must be referred to as directory-name/filename (the directory name to
    use being that provided by you when you logged on to UK.AC.NSF.SUN).
    To be sociable (since NSF.SUN is short of disc space), once you have
    received the file on your own machine you should delete the file from
    the UK.AC.NSF.SUN machine.

    This facility is very often overloaded, and an off-line relay
    facility at site UK.AC.FT-RELAY (which is simpler to use in any
    case) can be used as an alternative. The process is almost identical
    to file transfer within JANET, and the general method is illustrated
    in the following example. With some machines, filenames and the
    username need to be placed within quotes to prevent unacceptable
    transposion to upper case (as may apply also to the transfer from
    NSF.SUN described above).

    Send or Fetch: f
    >From Remote Filename:
    To Local Filename: bbs.fischer
    Remote Sitename:
    Remote Username: anonymous
    Remote Password: [enter your full email address including userid for
    this, or it won't be accepted]
    Queue this request? y

    Or if you wish you can get a listing of the available files, by giving
    the remote filename as:


    Because of traffic delays through the FT-RELAY, still another method
    can sometimes be recommended, which is to use the Princeton bitftp
    fileserver described below. Typically, one sends a mail message of
    the form:

    USER anonymous
    LS /pub/harnad
    GET /pub/harnad/bbs.fischer

    (the line beginning LS is required only if you need a listing of
    available files) to email address BITFTP@EARN.PUCC or to
    BITFTP@EDU.PRINCETON, and receives the requested file in the form of
    one or more email messages.

    [Thanks to Brian Josephson (BDJ10@UK.AC.CAM.PHX) for the above
    detailed UK/JANET instructions; similar special instructions for file
    retrieval from other networks or countries would be appreciated and
    will be included in updates of these instructions.]


    Where the above procedures are not available (e.g. from Bitnet or other
    networks), there are two fileservers:
    that will do the transfer for you. To one or the
    other of them, send the following one line message:


    for instructions (which will be similar to the above, but will be in
    the form of a series of lines in an email message that ftpmail or
    bitftp will then execute for you).