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In developing the theory presented in PROCESSES IN BIOLOGICAL VISION, it was found that there was no satisfactory treatise on the FUNDAMENTAL BASIS OF THE PROCESS OF READING. In the process of developing the main work, the neural topology and mechanisms associated with this process became available. This site presents the major findings of this development.

Two fundamental finding and one major discovery resulted from this effort:

  • While researchers have explored the gross movements of the eyes associated with the reading process in detail, they have not determined how the visual system perceives or interprets the symbols employed in writing and printing.

  • The participation of the fine motions of the eyes, globally known as tremor, and their relationship to the perception process have not been adequately studied or understood.

    • The key to understanding the operation of the visual system in reading is to understand the operation of the Precision Optical Servo System (POS) of the visual system.

      It is the POS that controls the movements of the eyes, both gross and fine, and extracts the information from the images presented to the retina that is sent to the brain for perception and interpretation.


There is very little literature on how the visual system interprets symbols. This site starts to fill that void. It can be read and studied as an entity. However, to understand the underlying support for this facility, it will be necessary to review the Main Site of VISION CONCEPTS. That site introduces five major paradigm shifts affecting many concepts held true for the last 50 years, a super extended period considering the rate of changes in other scientific technologies. The fourth shift provides for a fundamentally different concept of the reading process. The validity of the material is shown by its ability to explain complex mechanisms like reading. Although the fourth PARADIGM SHIFT remains consistent with the data in the literature, it presents an entirely new perspective on the operating mode of the visual system. This new paradigm can be expanded to say

  • The eyes of the animal kingdom are fundamentally change detectors and not imagers.

  • An additional mode of operation has evolved in members of Chordata, and in some members of Mollusca, that is known as the analytical mode

  • Most members of Chordata and the higher members of Mollusca have evolved a special technique, involving tremor, to acquire the advantages of an imager while retaining the advantages of a change detector.

While a number of researchers have disparaged tremor over the years as a useless feature that degrades vision, nothing could be further from the truth. Nature is not known for introducing unneeded capabilities. The highly structured waveforms of the components of tremor practically shout about their critical importance. This importance will be demonstrated below.

If the reader accepts the above premises and the shifts in thinking described, it is suggested that he will be amply rewarded. Many previously undefined phenomena become quantifiable and a large group of new performance descriptors become available. The descriptors are able to describe the vision process and the neural system to a totally new degree of accuracy, precision and functionality.

The PARADIGM SHIFTS, AS A GROUP, lead to a larger set of FUNDAMENTAL PREMISES that form the foundation of this overall work. The section FINDINGS RELATED TO READING summarizes the keys to understanding the process of reading. These findings will be explored in more detail at this site.

For more comprehensive study of how reading is accomplished, the main text of PROCESSES in ANIMAL VISION is suggested. Major excerpts from this book are available as downloadable documents (in beta-release form). Of particular relevance are:

  • Chapter 15--Higher Level Perception, related to the brain
  • Chapter 3--The Description of the Retina
  • Chapter 7, Sections 7.3, 7.4 & 7.5--The Mechanical Dynamics and Functions of the Eyes in Reading
  • Chapter 11--Introduction to Modeling of Biological Phenomena


Before procceding, it is suggested that the definition of the above terms, as used in this work, be reviewed. They differentiate between how humans perceive, interpret and recognize individual objects. Although these definitions apply to bucolic, symbolic (reading) and abstract images, only the bucolic image is illustrated in the definitions themselves.


The theory presented here is far more complete and mathematically rigorous than any other presented to date. It takes issue with many concepts that have become dogma over the years through indiscriminate repetition in textbooks and journal articles. Many of these poorly defined positions are compared with a more explicit position based on the theory.

Because of the revolutionary nature of some of the material presented, students are encouraged to review the Cautions Page before proceeding. It has been tailored separately for K-12, lower university and higher level students.

Continue to Content Summary for Reading Site on next page

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A Beta release CD-ROM is available

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