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Takahiro Doi, Seiji Tanabe, Ichiro Fujita; Matching and correlation computations in stereoscopic depth perception. Journal of Vision 2011;11(3):1. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/11.3.1.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
A fundamental task of the visual system is to infer depth by using binocular disparity. To encode binocular disparity, the visual cortex performs two distinct computations: one detects matched patterns in paired images (matching computation); the other constructs the cross-correlation between the images (correlation computation). How the two computations are used in stereoscopic perception is unclear. We dissociated their contributions in near/far discrimination by varying the magnitude of the disparity across separate sessions. For small disparity (0.03°), subjects performed at chance level to a binocularly opposite-contrast (anti-correlated) random-dot stereogram (RDS) but improved their performance with the proportion of contrast-matched (correlated) dots. For large disparity (0.48°), the direction of perceived depth reversed with an anti-correlated RDS relative to that for a correlated one. Neither reversed nor normal depth was perceived when anti-correlation was applied to half of the dots. We explain the decision process as a weighted average of the two computations, with the relative weight of the correlation computation increasing with the disparity magnitude. We conclude that matching computation dominates fine depth perception, while both computations contribute to coarser depth perception. Thus, stereoscopic depth perception recruits different computations depending on the disparity magnitude.
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