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Hering's law of equal innervation

Hering's law of equal innervation is used to explain the conjugacy of eye movements (saccades) in stereoptic animals. The law proposes that conjugacy of saccades is due to innate connections in which the eye muscles responsible for each eye's movements are innervated equally. The law also states that apparent monocular eye movements are actually the mathematical summation of conjugate version and vergence eye movements. The law was put forward by Ewald Hering in the 19th century, though the underlying principles of the law date back to Alhacen's Book of Optics (1021).[1]

This theory is in contrast to the theory proposed by Von Helmholtz (1911) which states that conjugacy is a learned, coordinated response and that the movements of the eyes are individually controlled. Although for most of the 20th century, it was believed that Herring was right, recent evidence has suggested that the eye movements may be separately encoded[2].


  1. ^ Ian P. Howard (1996). "Alhazen's neglected discoveries of visual phenomena". Perception 25 (10): 1203 – 1217.
  2. ^ King WM, Zhou W. "New ideas about binocular coordination of eye movements: is there a chameleon in the primate family tree?" Anat Rec. 2000 Aug 15;261(4):153-61. PMID 10944576.


  • Pickwell, LD " Hering's law of equal innervation and the position of the binoculus", Vision Res. 1972 Sep;12(9):1499-507.
  • Helmholtz, J.A. 1910. Treatise on Physiological Optics. Dover. New York.
  • Hering, E. 1977. The Theory of Binocular Vision. Plenum Press. New York (translation)
  • Dynamic and static violations of Hering's law of equal innervation (abstract)
  • [1]

See also

  • Sherrington's law of reciprocal innervation
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Hering's_law_of_equal_innervation". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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