Binocular disparity is detected in the primary visual cortex by a process similar to calculation of local cross-correlation between left and right retinal images. As a consequence, correlation-based neural signals convey information about false disparities as well as the true disparity. The false responses in the initial disparity detectors are eliminated at later stages in order to encode only disparities of the features correctly matched between the two eyes. For a simple stimulus configuration, a feed-forward nonlinear process can transform the correlation signal into the match signal. For human observers, depth judgement is determined by a weighted sum of the correlation and match signals rather than depending solely on the latter. The relative weight changes with spatial and temporal parameters of the stimuli, allowing adaptive recruitment of the two computations under different visual circumstances. A full transformation from correlation-based to match-based representation occurs at the neuronal population level in cortical area V4 and manifests in single-neuron responses of inferior temporal and posterior parietal cortices. Neurons in area V5/MT represent disparity in a manner intermediate between the correlation and match signals. We propose that the correlation and match signals in these areas contribute to depth perception in a weighted, parallel manner.
This article is part of the themed issue ‘Vision in our three-dimensional world’.
One contribution of 15 to a theme issue ‘Vision in our three-dimensional world’.
- Accepted February 22, 2016.
- © 2016 The Author(s)
Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.