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Robert S. Allison, Barbara J. Gillam, Elia Vecellio; Binocular depth discrimination and estimation beyond interaction space. Journal of Vision 2009;9(1):10. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/9.1.10.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
The benefits of binocular vision have been debated throughout the history of vision science yet few studies have considered its contribution beyond a viewing distance of a few meters. In the first set of experiments, we compared monocular and binocular performance on depth interval estimation and discrimination tasks at 4.5, 9.0 or 18.0 m. Under monocular conditions, perceived depth was significantly compressed. Binocular depth estimates were much nearer to veridical although also compressed. Regression-based precision measures were much more precise for binocular compared to monocular conditions (ratios between 2.1 and 48). We confirm that stereopsis supports reliable depth discriminations beyond typical laboratory distances. Furthermore, binocular vision can significantly improve both the accuracy and precision of depth estimation to at least 18 m. In another experiment, we used a novel paradigm that allowed the presentation of real binocular disparity stimuli in the presence of rich environmental cues to distance but not interstimulus depth. We found that the presence of environmental cues to distance greatly enhanced stereoscopic depth constancy at distances of 4.5 and 9.0 m. We conclude that stereopsis is an effective cue for depth discrimination and estimation for distances beyond those traditionally assumed. In normal environments, distance information from other sources such as perspective can be effective in scaling depth from disparity.
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