The physiology of stereopsis

Annu Rev Neurosci. 2001;24:203-38. doi: 10.1146/annurev.neuro.24.1.203.


Binocular disparity provides the visual system with information concerning the three-dimensional layout of the environment. Recent physiological studies in the primary visual cortex provide a successful account of the mechanisms by which single neurons are able to signal disparity. This work also reveals that additional processing is required to make explicit the types of signal required for depth perception (such as the ability to match features correctly between the two monocular images). Some of these signals, such as those encoding relative disparity, are found in extrastriate cortex. Several other lines of evidence also suggest that the link between perception and neuronal activity is stronger in extrastriate cortex (especially MT) than in the primary visual cortex.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Depth Perception / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Vision, Binocular / physiology
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*