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Yang Liu, Alan C. Bovik, Lawrence K. Cormack; Disparity statistics in natural scenes. Journal of Vision 2008;8(11):19. doi: 10.1167/8.11.19.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Binocular disparity is the input to stereopsis, which is a very strong depth cue in humans. However, the distribution of binocular disparities in natural environments has not been quantitatively measured. In this study, we converted distances from accurate range maps of forest scenes and indoor scenes into the disparities that an observer would encounter, given an eye model and fixation distances (which we measured for the forest environment, and simulated for the indoor environment). We found that the distributions of natural disparities in these two kinds of scenes are centered at zero, have high peaks, and span about 5 deg, which closely matches the macaque MT cells' disparity tuning range. These ranges are fully within the operational range of human stereopsis determined psychophysically. Suprathreshold disparities (>10 arcsec) are common rather than exceptional. There is a prevailing notion that stereopsis only operates within a few meters, but our finding suggests that we should rethink the role of stereopsis at far viewing distances because of the abundance of suprathreshold disparities.
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