Movement (2) Rape (1): BBS Call for Commentators

harnad at harnad at
Wed Jul 3 11:01:54 EST 1991

Below are the abstracts of three forthcoming target articles, two on
movement and the motor system and one on the sociobiology of rape. They
have 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 one or more of these articles (please specify which),
to suggest other appropriate commentators, or for information
about how to become a BBS Associate, please send email to:

harnad at  or harnad at 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.
A nonfinal draft of the full text of all three articles is available for
inspection by anonymous ftp according to the instructions that follow
after the two abstracts.
Target Article #1 (Golani):

The Mobility Gradient and the Organization of Vertebrate Movement

			Ilan Golani
			Department of Zoology
			Tel Aviv University
			Ramat Aviv, Israel

Keywords: Movement notation, language, gestalt  perception,  play,
motor  development, ritualized fighting, drug-induced  stereotypies,
apomorphine, amphetamine, quinpirole, exploratory behavior.

Abstract: Ordinary language can prevent us from seeing the organization
of whole-animal movement. This may be why the search for behavioral
homologies has not been as fruitful as the founders of ethology had
hoped. The Eshkol-Wachman (EW) movement notational system can reveal
shared movement patterns that are undetectable in the kinds of informal
verbal descriptions of the same behaviors that are in current use.
Rules of organization that are common to locomotor development,
agonistic and exploratory behavior, scent marking, play, and
dopaminergic drug-induced stereotypies in a variety of vertebrates
suggest that behavior progresses along a "mobility gradient" from
immobility to increasing complexity and unpredictability. A progression
in the opposite direction, with decreasing spatial complexity and
increased stereotypy, occurs under the influence of the nonselective
dopaminergic drugs apomorphine and amphetamine and partly also the
selective dopamine agonist quinpirole. The behaviors associated with
the mobility gradient appear to be mediated by a family of basal
ganglia-thalamocortical circuits and their descending output stations.
Because the small number of rules underlying the mobility gradient
account for a large variety of behaviors, they may be related to the
specific functional demands on these neurological systems. The EW
system and the mobility gradient model should prove useful to
ethologists and neurobiologists.
Target Article #2 (Flanders):


M. Flanders, S.I.H. Tillery, J. F. Soechting

Department of Physiology
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN 55455

KEYWORDS: Sensorimotor transformation; Arm movement; Vision;
Kinesthesis; Movement kinematics

ABSTRACT: We present a model for several early stages of the
sensorimotor transformations involved in targeted arm movement. In
psychophysical experiments, human subjects pointed to the remembered
locations of randomly placed targets in three-dimensional space. They
made consistent errors in distance and from these errors, stages in the
sensorimotor transformation were deduced. When subjects attempted to
move the right index finger to a virtual target they consistently
undershot the distance of the more distal targets. Other experiments
indicated that the error was in the sensorimotor transformation rather
than in the perception of distance. The error was most consistent when
evaluated using a spherical coordinate system based at the right
shoulder, indicating that the neural representation of target
parameters is transformed from a retinocentric representation to a
shoulder-centered representation. According to the model, the error in
distance is due to the neural implementation of a linear approximation
in the algorithm to transform shoulder-centered target parameters into
a set of arm orientations appropriate for placing the finger on the
target. The transformation to final arm orientations places visually
derived information into a frame of reference where it can readily be
combined with kinesthetically derived information about initial arm
orientations. The combination of these representations of initial and
final arm orientations could give rise to the representation of
movement direction recorded in the motor cortex by Georgopoulos and his
colleagues. Later stages, such as the transformation from kinematic
(position) to dynamic (force) parameters, or to levels of muscle
activation, are beyond the scope of the present model.

Target Article #3 (Thornhill):


		Randy Thornhill
		Department of Biology
                Nancy Wilmsen Thornhill
                Departments of Biology and Anthropology,
                University of New Mexico
		Albuquerque, N.M. 87131
                NTHORN at UNMVM.BITNET

Key words:  Coercion, Evolutionary Psychology, Rape, Sexual
Conflict, Sexual Selection

ABSTRACT: Psychological adaptation underlies all human behavior. Two
competing evolutionary hypotheses can explain sexual coercion by men:
(i) It is either the result of psychological adaptation to the
circumstance of rape itself (i.e., there is an adaptation specific to
sexual coercion) or (ii) it is a side-effect of a psychological
adaptation to circumstances other than sexual coercion. We test some of
the predictions following from hypothesis (i): (1) Both coercive and
noncoercive sexual behavior of men should be associated with high
levels of sexual arousal and competence in men. (2) Controlling a
sexual partner by physical aggression should be sexually arousing to
men. (3) Young men should exhibit more coercive sex than older men. (4)
Men of low socio-economic status should be more inclined toward
coercive sex. (5) Its effect on his social image should be an important
condition regulating a man's motivation to use sexual coercion. (6) Men
in mateships should be inclined to use coercion when their mates show
sexual uninterest or resistance because they interpret these reactions
as signs of sexual infidelity. Current data on human sexuality do
support all six predictions and are hence compatible with hypothesis
(i) (a specific psychological adaptation to coercive sex) but the data
are not sufficient to eliminate the incidental-effect hypothesis (ii)
and demonstrate the existence of an adaptation to coercive sex.
Evidence indicating that forced matings increased the fitness of
ancestral males under some condition during human evolution does not
show any aspect of men's sexual psyche to be specialized for coercive
sex. We discuss some research that may help determine whether or not
adaptation to coercive sex actually exists in the sexual psyche of

To help you decide whether you would be an appropriate commentator for
these articles, a (nonfinal) draft of each is retrievable by anonymous
ftp from according to the instructions below (the
filenames are bbs.golani, bbs.flanders and bbs.thornhill -- the golani
and thornhill files are available already but flanders will only be
available in a few days). Please do not prepare a commentary on these
drafts. Just let us know, after having inspected them, what relevant
expertise you feel you would bring to bear on what aspect of the
article, if you were selected as commentator. (Please specify #1
(Golani), #2 (Flanders), #3 (Thornhill) or a combination of more than

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