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date: 13 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

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

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