Horizontal and vertical disparity, eye position, and stereoscopic slant perception

Vision Res. 1999 Mar;39(6):1143-70. doi: 10.1016/s0042-6989(98)00139-4.


The slant of a stereoscopically defined surface cannot be determined solely from horizontal disparities or from derived quantities such as horizontal size ratio (HSR). There are four other signals that, in combination with horizontal disparity, could in principle allow an unambiguous estimate of slant: the vergence and version of the eyes, the vertical size ratio (VSR), and the horizontal gradient of VSR. Another useful signal is provided by perspective slant cues. The determination of perceived slant can be modeled as a weighted combination of three estimates based on those signals: a perspective estimate, a stereoscopic estimate based on HSR and VSR, and a stereoscopic estimate based on HSR and sensed eye position. In a series of experiments, we examined human observers' use of the two stereoscopic means of estimation. Perspective cues were rendered uninformative. We found that VSR and sensed eye position are both used to interpret the measured horizontal disparities. When the two are placed in conflict, the visual system usually gives more weight to VSR. However, when VSR is made difficult to measure by using short stimuli or stimuli composed of vertical lines, the visual system relies on sensed eye position. A model in which the observer's slant estimate is a weighted average of the slant estimate based on HSR and VSR and the one based on HSR and eye position accounted well for the data. The weights varied across viewing conditions because the informativeness of the signals they employ vary from one situation to another.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cues*
  • Depth Perception / physiology*
  • Eye Movements
  • Humans
  • Psychological Tests
  • Psychometrics
  • Vision, Binocular / physiology*