Neurons in Striate Cortex Signal Disparity in Half-Matched Random-Dot Stereograms

  • Henriksen S
  • Read J
  • Cumming B
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UNLABELLED Human stereopsis can operate in dense "cyclopean" images containing no monocular objects. This is believed to depend on the computation of binocular correlation by neurons in primary visual cortex (V1). The observation that humans perceive depth in half-matched random-dot stereograms, although these stimuli have no net correlation, has led to the proposition that human depth perception in these stimuli depends on a distinct "matching" computation possibly performed in extrastriate cortex. However, recording from disparity-selective neurons in V1 of fixating monkeys, we found that they are in fact able to signal disparity in half-matched stimuli. We present a simple model that explains these results. This reinstates the view that disparity-selective neurons in V1 provide the initial substrate for perception in dense cyclopean stimuli, and strongly suggests that separate correlation and matching computations are not necessary to explain existing data on mixed correlation stereograms. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT The initial step in stereoscopic 3D vision is generally thought to be a correlation-based computation that takes place in striate cortex. Recent research has argued that there must be an additional matching computation involved in extracting stereoscopic depth in random-dot stereograms. This is based on the observation that humans can perceive depth in stimuli with a mean binocular correlation of zero (where a correlation-based mechanism should not signal depth). We show that correlation-based cells in striate cortex do in fact signal depth here because they convert fluctuations in the correlation level into a mean change in the firing rate. Our results reinstate the view that these cells provide a sufficient substrate for the perception of stereoscopic depth.




Henriksen, S., Read, J. C. A., & Cumming, B. G. (2016). Neurons in Striate Cortex Signal Disparity in Half-Matched Random-Dot Stereograms. The Journal of Neuroscience, 36(34), 8967–8976.

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