Is stereopsis effective in breaking camouflage for moving targets?

Suzanne P. Mckee, Scott N.J. Watamaniuk, Julie M. Harris, Harvey S. Smallman, Douglas G. Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


It has been suggested that breaking camouflage is one of the major functions of stereopsis. In this study, we found that stereopsis is less effective in breaking camouflage for moving targets than for static ones. Observers were asked to detect a single dot moving on a straight trajectory amidst identical noise dots in random motion. In the three-dimensional (3D) condition, the noise dots filled a cylindrical volume 5.7cm in height and diameter; the trajectory signal dot moved on an oblique 3D trajectory through the center of the cylinder. In the two-dimensional (2D) control condition, observers viewed one half-image of the 3D cylinder binocularly. Surprisingly, trajectory detection in the 3D condition was only slightly better than in the 2D condition. Stereoscopic tuning for motion detection was also measured with a novel target configuration in which the random motion noise was presented in two depth planes that straddled the fixation plane where the trajectory target was presented. As the disparity between the noise planes and the fixation plane was increased, trajectory detection improved, reaching a peak between 6 and 12 arcmin, and then declining to the 2D level at larger disparities, where the noise became diplopic. Similar tuning measurements were made for detecting a static pattern, a string of five aligned dots presented in the fixation plane between two planes of static noise dots. Adding disparity to the noise planes produced a far greater improvement in static detection than in motion detection, for a comparable range of disparities (1.5-12 arcmin). We speculate that the temporal characteristics of the stereo system are not well suited for responding to moving targets, with the result that stereo does not greatly enhance motion detection in noise.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2047-2055
Number of pages9
JournalVision Research
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1997


  • Binocular disparity
  • Binocular vision
  • Depth perception
  • Motion
  • Stereopsis


Dive into the research topics of 'Is stereopsis effective in breaking camouflage for moving targets?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this