Modulation of neural stereoscopic processing in primate area V1 by the viewing distance

Science  28 Aug 1992:
Vol. 257, Issue 5074, pp. 1279-1281
DOI: 10.1126/science.1519066


Accurate binocular depth perception requires information about both stereopsis (relative depth) and distance (absolute depth). It is unclear how these two types of information are integrated in the visual system. In alert, behaving monkeys the responsiveness of a large majority of neurons in the primary visual cortex (area V1) was modulated by the viewing distance. This phenomenon affected particularly disparity-related activity and background activity and was not dependent on the pattern of retinal stimulation. Therefore, extraretinal factors, probably related to ocular vergence or accommodation, or both, can affect processing early in the visual pathway. Such modulations could be useful for (i) judging true distance and (ii) scaling retinal disparity to give information about three-dimensional shape.