Role of primate visual area V4 in the processing of 3-D shape characteristics defined by disparity

J Neurophysiol. 2005 Oct;94(4):2856-66. doi: 10.1152/jn.00802.2004. Epub 2005 Jun 29.


We studied the responses of V4 neurons in awake, fixating monkeys to a diverse set of stereoscopic stimuli, including zero-order disparity (frontoparallel) stimuli, surfaces oriented in depth, and convex and concave shapes presented at various mean disparities. The responses of many V4 cells were significantly modulated across each of these stimulus subsets. In general, V4 cells were broadly tuned for zero-order disparity, and at any given disparity value, about four-fifths of the cells responded significantly above background. The response modulation by flat surfaces oriented in depth was significant for about one-quarter of cells, and the responses of about one-third of the cells were significantly modulated by convex or concave surfaces at various mean disparities. However, we encountered no cells that unambiguously distinguished a given three-dimensional (3-D) shape independent of mean disparity. Thus 3-D shapes defined by disparity are unlikely to be represented explicitly at the level of individual V4 cells. Nonetheless, V4 cells likely play an important role in the processing of 3-D shape characteristics defined by disparity as a part of a distributed network.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Depth Perception / physiology*
  • Form Perception / physiology*
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Models, Neurological
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Vision Disparity / physiology*
  • Visual Cortex / cytology*
  • Visual Cortex / physiology
  • Visual Pathways / physiology
  • Wakefulness / physiology