Cortical area MT and the perception of stereoscopic depth

Nature. 1998 Aug 13;394(6694):677-80. doi: 10.1038/29299.


Stereopsis is the perception of depth based on small positional differences between images formed on the two retinae (known as binocular disparity). Neurons that respond selectively to binocular disparity were first described three decades ago, and have since been observed in many visual areas of the primate brain, including V1, V2, V3, MT and MST. Although disparity-selective neurons are thought to form the neural substrate for stereopsis, the mere existence of disparity-selective neurons does not guarantee that they contribute to stereoscopic depth perception. Some disparity-selective neurons may play other roles, such as guiding vergence eye movements. Thus, the roles of different visual areas in stereopsis remain poorly defined. Here we show that visual area MT is important in stereoscopic vision: electrical stimulation of clusters of disparity-selective MT neurons can bias perceptual judgements of depth, and the bias is predictable from the disparity preference of neurons at the stimulation site. These results show that behaviourally relevant signals concerning stereoscopic depth are present in MT.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping
  • Depth Perception / physiology*
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Female
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Male
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*