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Agostino Gibaldi, Andrea Canessa, Silvio Sabatini; Active stereo fixation: developmental influence on the binocular visual system. Journal of Vision 2016;16(12):430. doi: 10.1167/16.12.430.
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INTRODUCTION - The statistical properties of natural images has been proven to be effective in explaining a number of psychophysiological features of the human visual system related to the perception of different visual parameters (see , as review). Accordingly, neural-coding theory predicts that regularities in the environment should be exploited by the visual system for an optimal allocation of the required computational resources. METHODS - If other works analyzed the statistical characteristics of stereoscopic perception (see , as review), here, we specifically focus on investigating the possible role played by active binocular fixation strategies. By exploiting a unique experimental setup, which consists of a set of naturalistic three-dimensional images (disparity maps and stereoimage pairs) and a VR simulator, we differentiated between random fixations and actual binocular exploration of human subjects. The resulting statistics of retinal disparity were exploited to predict the functional characteristics of binocular vision, namely the retinal corresponding points (RCP), the cortical magnification factor (CFM), the empirical horopter, and the Panum's fusional area. RESULTS - At a first glance, there is a general compliance with psychophysiological findings for what concerns the shape of the empirical horopter and Panum's area, as well as perceptual correspondence of the patterns of RCP and CFM. Specifically, the subjects' disparity distribution allows for a more precise prediction of the functional characteristics of binocular vision. Moreover, the significant difference arising in active binocular fixations between central and peripheral field of view reveals a preference for crossed disparity, which can be interpreted as the binocular counterpart of the figure-ground segregation process, which is prominent in natural vision . CONCLUSION - The obtained results assess the possible role of the fixation strategy on the evolution and development of the functional structure of the human visual system.  Geisler. Annu.Rev.Psychol., 2008  Sprague. Science Advances, 2015  Cottereau., J.Neurosci, 2011
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2016
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