Stereo-perception appears to be mediated by at least two systems: a transient system that processes stimuli presented briefly and a sustained one that processes stimuli presented for longer durations. In this paper we investigated the tuning of the transient-stereopsis system to stimulus orientation. Narrowband-gabor targets with a constant envelope size (Gaussian standard deviation of 1°) were presented for brief (140 ms) durations at large (from 4 to 8°) disparities. The results were as follows: (1) while observers could extract depth from orthogonally-oriented gabors at above chance levels, their performance was worse than that with gabors of matched orientation; (2) varying the relative contrasts of the two orthogonally oriented gabors of the same spatial frequency resulted in a reduction in performance; (3) varying the relative spatial frequencies of the orthogonally-oriented gabors impaired performance, relative to that for matched frequencies; and (4) varying the relative contrasts of orthogonal gabors that were at different spatial frequencies could improve performance. These results indicate that transient stereo-performance in the orthogonal condition was not mediated by the channels that extracted depth in either the horizontal- or vertically-matched gabor conditions. This apparent lack of orientation tuning is indicative of a second-order pathway. That this performance was mediated by a binocular, as opposed to a monocular channel, is supported by the finding that performance decreased as the contrast of one of the gabors was reduced. The finding that performance with orthogonal gabors of unmatched spatial frequency (0.5 and 4 cpd) could be improved by varying their relative contrasts suggests that the binocular spatial- frequency tuning exhibited by this channel is broadband in nature. Finally, the observation that lowering the contrast of either the high or low spatial- frequency gabor improved performance suggests the presence of at least two broadband channels: one with its peak sensitivity at a low and the other at a high spatial-frequency.
Edwards, M., Pope, D. R., & Schor, C. M. (1999). Orientation tuning of the transient-stereopsis system. Vision Research, 39(16), 2717–2727. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0042-6989(98)00277-6