Notice: Undefined offset: 649 in /var/www/scholarpedia.org/mediawiki/includes/parser/Parser.php on line 5961
Talk:Vibrissal behavior and function - Scholarpedia

# Talk:Vibrissal behavior and function

The paper is clear on what we know and don’t know, but there is something missing in the organization of the paper.

The title of this entry is: “Vibrissal Behavior and Function

One of my key complaints is about narration, or story telling that one paragraph does not follow from the last one. The opening paragraph is a collection of facts, not a summary or description of what is to follow. I would switch paragraph one and two: giving the broad over view first, the details second. I would also lead by saying something about how we have studied Behavior and Function: Lesion studies, behavioral tasks, high speed videography, and psychophysics. The little content box on the organization of the chapter does next to nothing for me.

The paper is missing key statements: What do we know about perception with whisker use: how rapid is perception in the rodent tactile system? Do we know how long it takes after contact for an animal to recognize what an object is? How many times does the animal touch an object? How long does that take? What is the prevalent theory of what whiskers are good for, what having whiskers accomplishes for rats, mice, dogs, cats, seals and what movement of vibrissae accomplishes for rodents?

The description of whiskers – if it is put in this review -- could be its own paragraph with a subheading: this should include description of whiskers (the taper, the tip diameter), of numbers of whiskers from species to species, and a sentence on the muscle control of whiskers (rodents have single muscles around the follicle).

The heading “Cross-species comparisons of vibrissal touch” and the text under this heading do not match.   The heading is about touch but the text is morphology and even the morphology is not detailed. I find it really odd that the paper does not emphasize anything on how we know that vibrissae are used for touch, I mean historically, how do we know this.  Who said that whiskers are for touch first?

The paragraph “Active Control of Vibrissal Movement”  has no context.  If it was me, I would put a sentence about behavior and action – that is behavior is a sequence of actions, and muscle contractions.  If it was me writing this, I would set up the paragraph with the implication that there are two groups; two different methods of whisker use; active control over whiskers and passive use of whisker movement by water, or by air currents, or by contact.  Just the fact that there are muscles for individual whiskers for some species and no such anatomical specialization in other species indicates that the behavior – the series of actions that make possible the use of information from the whiskers -- should be different.   We may not know this, but we can infer this.


The heading “Behavioral Evidence of Vibrissal Function” is missing the word tactile in it. The paragraph is about all kinds of tactile functions. How do we know that whiskers are for touch, and what do we mean by touch, so it should have tactile in the heading. It is a bit strange that most of the deficits described here do not have much to do with tactile function or do they: if they do, how does that work? I don’t associate losing my fingers with a problem with equilibrium, or swimming, do you?

The next sub heading is “Localizing, Orienting and tracking”: but the things in italics under this use somewhat different words: Object Localization….; Orienting; and Detection of movement. Be consistent. In the sentence before this subheading, there is a sentence about i) localize, orient to track…and ii) discriminate between. But the text underneath has three subheadings: Localize….; Tactile discrimination…; and Social Behavior.

Also be consistent about citations, sometimes you are giving the entire list of authors, at other times you use et al…in the text.