Motion perception during dichoptic viewing of moving random-dot stereograms

Vision Res. 1985;25(4):583-8. doi: 10.1016/0042-6989(85)90164-6.


The relation between binocular and monocular motion perception was investigated. A random-dot stereogram (30 X 30 deg arc), containing a central figure seen in front of the background in stereoscopic vision, was viewed dichoptically by human subjects without a fixed visual frame of reference. The images seen by the right and left eye were moved laterally according to a triangular wave form, in counterphase, but with variable amplitude ratios. Under this condition only purely lateral movement and no motion in depth of the stereogram as a whole was perceived, while stereoscopic vision of the figure-background relation was maintained. The magnitude of the binocularly perceived lateral motion, signalled by manual tracking of the perceived displacement, equalled the algebraic mean of the monocular motion percepts. As a special case, when the two images forming the stereogram were moved with equal velocities but in opposite directions they were perceived as a completely stationary, fused image in stereoscopic depth. Only the addition of a stationary reference (a bar or grating seen by both eyes) resulted in the perception of motion in depth. We conclude that a visual frame of reference is essential for perception of motion in depth but not for perception of lateral movements. Moreover, it seems likely that not absolute binocular disparity (retinal locus differences) but relative binocular disparity (differences in angular distance between two or more corresponding features in the two retinal images) is a cue for perception of depth.

MeSH terms

  • Convergence, Ocular
  • Depth Perception / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Motion Perception / physiology*
  • Vision, Ocular / physiology*