Increasing confidence in vergence as a cue to distance

J R Tresilian, M Mon-Williams, B M Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Citations (Scopus)


Multiple cues contribute to the visual perception of an object's distance from the observer. The manner in which the nervous system combines these various cues is of considerable interest. Although it is accepted that image cues play a significant role in distance perception, controversy exists regarding the use of kinaesthetic information about the eyes' state of convergence. We used a perturbation technique to explore the contribution of vergence to visually based distance estimates as a function of both fixation distance and the availability of retinal information. Our results show that the nervous system increases the weighting given to vergence as (i) fixation distance becomes closer; and (ii) the available retinal image cues decrease. We also identified the presence of a strong contraction bias when distance cues were studied in isolation, but we argue that such biases do not suggest that vergence provides an ineffectual signal for near-space perception.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-44
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jan 1999


  • distance estimates
  • fixation distance
  • kinaesthetic information
  • perception
  • visual cues


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