Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.
  • Responses of primary visual cortical neurons to binocular disparity without depth perception.

    24 October 2018

    The identification of brain regions that are associated with the conscious perception of visual stimuli is a major goal in neuroscience. Here we present a test of whether the signals on neurons in cortical area V1 correspond directly to our conscious perception of binocular stereoscopic depth. Depth perception requires that image features on one retina are first matched with appropriate features on the other retina. The mechanisms that perform this matching can be examined by using random-dot stereograms, in which the left and right eyes view randomly positioned but binocularly correlated dots. We exploit the fact that anticorrelated random-dot stereograms (in which dots in one eye are matched geometrically to dots of the opposite contrast in the other eye) do not give rise to the perception of depth because the matching process does not find a consistent solution. Anti-correlated random-dot stereograms contain binocular features that could excite neurons that have not solved the correspondence problem. We demonstrate that disparity-selective neurons in V1 signal the disparity of anticorrelated random-dot stereograms, indicating that they do not unambiguously signal stereoscopic depth. Hence single V1 neurons cannot account for the conscious perception of stereopsis, although combining the outputs of many V1 neurons could solve the matching problem. The accompanying paper suggests an additional function for disparity signals from V1: they may be important for the rapid involuntary control of vergence eye movements (eye movements that bring the images on the two foveae into register).

  • Local disparity not perceived depth is signaled by binocular neurons in cortical area V1 of the Macaque.

    24 October 2018

    Binocular neurons that are closely related to depth perception should respond selectively for stimuli eliciting an appropriate depth sensation. To separate perceived depth from local disparity within the receptive field, sinusoidal luminance gratings were presented within a circular aperture. The disparity of the aperture was coupled to that of the grating, thereby rendering unambiguous the psychophysical matching between repeating cycles of the grating. In cases in which the stimulus disparity differs by one horizontal period of the grating, the portion of the grating that locally covers a receptive field is binocularly identical, but the depth sensation is very different because of the aperture. For 117 disparity-selective V1 neurons tested in two monkeys, the overwhelming majority responded equally well to configurations that were locally identical but led to different perceptions of depth. Because the psychophysical sensation is not reflected in the firing rate of V1 neurons, the signals that make stereo matches explicit are most likely elaborated in extrastriate cortex.