3D shape perception from combined depth cues in human visual cortex

Nat Neurosci. 2005 Jun;8(6):820-7. doi: 10.1038/nn1461. Epub 2005 May 1.


Our perception of the world's three-dimensional (3D) structure is critical for object recognition, navigation and planning actions. To accomplish this, the brain combines different types of visual information about depth structure, but at present, the neural architecture mediating this combination remains largely unknown. Here, we report neuroimaging correlates of human 3D shape perception from the combination of two depth cues. We measured fMRI responses while observers judged the 3D structure of two sequentially presented images of slanted planes defined by binocular disparity and perspective. We compared the behavioral and fMRI responses evoked by changes in one or both of the depth cues. fMRI responses in extrastriate areas (hMT+/V5 and lateral occipital complex), rather than responses in early retinotopic areas, reflected differences in perceived 3D shape, suggesting 'combined-cue' representations in higher visual areas. These findings provide insight into the neural circuits engaged when the human brain combines different information sources for unified 3D visual perception.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain Mapping
  • Cues*
  • Depth Perception / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Orientation / physiology
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Space Perception / physiology
  • Visual Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*
  • Visual Pathways / physiology*