Lax parents blamed for 'attention deficit' behaviour

John H. john at
Thu Jul 31 07:04:12 EST 2003

Thanks re the saccades, I followed through on that.

John H.

johnYYYcoe at

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"Matthew Kirkcaldie" <Matthew.Kirkcaldie at> wrote in message
news:Matthew.Kirkcaldie-F704A0.10540731072003 at
> In article <3f284dfc at>, "John H." <john at>
> wrote:
> > My understanding of saccades is those micro second scanning movements of
> > eye. When we consciously direct our gaze somewhere that only indirectly
> > affects saccading, we are not consciously controlling this scanning, it
> > mediated mostly via the superior collicus I think.
> Your understanding is correct - my point was simply that all of our
> voluntary movements involve control systems of which we are not
> conscious.  We might form the intention to "look over there" and a
> saccade will be directed to that spot, and equally we might think "reach
> over there" and a series of ballistic and corrective movements will be
> made by several systems wholly ignored by our conscious mind.  In this
> sense, a saccade is a voluntary movement like any other, in that it
> involves conscious direction but the details of movement are not known
> to us.  You CAN stop your eyes from saccading by fixating on a
> particular spot or closing your eyes.
> I agree that some measurable qualities of the saccades themselves depend
> on the intrinsic functional connectivity of the CNS, but where we might
> differ is that I don't believe that alterations to these qualities
> requires a genetic or pathological explanation, and hence isn't
> sufficient evidence for an "organic brain disorder," whatever we take
> that to mean.  These sorts of assumptions are poisoning the study of the
> brain by leading to the sorts of gross "receptor equals behaviour"
> fallacies which are increasingly permeating clinical psychiatry.  They
> sound grand but are of no additional explicatory value, and the
> arguments generally collapse into "we think this is responsible because
> we saw a marginal correlation" or "I use this drug and wish to justify
> its use by criteria other than clinical judgement."
> As for the "organic disorder and behavioural therapy" opinion, whereas I
> don't think most such disorders can be meaningfully distinguished as
> organic or non-organic, I am in complete agreement that a behavioural
> strategy is the most appropriate way to tackle behavioural problems,
> especially those with such an elastic definition as ADHD.  Introducing a
> drug to the situation is making an adjustment to a system whose simplest
> functions are not really understood at all - rather like trying to fix a
> computer by varying the output voltage of the power supply.
> >Whatever method, the goal must be to get them
> > off the drugs. It may not always be possible but you do your best.
> I think your points are well made, and although we disagree on some of
> the semantics, your conclusion seems very worthwhile!  And I think this
> is where we came in ...
>       Cheers,
>          Matthew.

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