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Baptiste Caziot, Benjamin T. Backus, Esther Lin; Early dynamics of stereoscopic surface slant perception. Journal of Vision 2017;17(14):4. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/17.14.4.
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Surface orientation is an important visual primitive that can be estimated from monocular or binocular (stereoscopic) signals. Changes in motor planning occur within about 200 ms after either type of signal is perturbed, but the time it takes for apparent (perceived) slant to develop from stereoscopic cues is not known. Apparent slant sometimes develops very slowly (Gillam, Chambers, & Russo, 1988; van Ee & Erkelens, 1996). However, these long durations could reflect the time it takes for the visual system to resolve conflicts between slant cues that inevitably specify different slants in laboratory displays (Allison & Howard, 2000). We used a speed–accuracy tradeoff analysis to measure the time it takes to discriminate slant, allowing us to report psychometric functions as a function of response time. Observers reported which side of a slanted surface was farther, with a temporal deadline for responding that varied block-to-block. Stereoscopic slant discrimination rose above chance starting at 200 ms after stimulus onset. Unexpectedly, observers discriminated slant from binocular disparity faster than texture, and for stereoscopic whole-field stimuli faster than stereoscopic slant contrast stimuli. However, performance after the initial deviation from chance increased more rapidly for slant-contrast stimuli than whole-field stimuli. Discrimination latencies were similar for slants about the horizontal and vertical axes, but performance increased faster for slants about the vertical axis. Finally, slant from vertical disparity was somewhat slower than slant from horizontal disparity, which may reflect cue conflict. These results demonstrate, in contradiction with the previous literature, that the perception of slant from disparity happens very quickly—in fact, more quickly than the perception of slant from texture—and in comparable time to the simple perception of brightness from luminance.
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