Vertical disparity affects shape and size judgements across surfaces separated in depth

LM O'Kane, Paul Barry Hibbard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Vertical binocular disparity provides a useful source of information allowing three-dimensional (3-D) shape to be recovered from horizontal binocular disparity. In order to influence metric shape judgments, a large field of view is required, suggesting that vertical disparity may play a limited role in the perception of objects projecting small retinal images. This limitation could be overcome if vertical disparity information could be pooled over wide areas of 3-D space. This was investigated by assessing the effect of vertical disparity scaling of a large surround surface on the perceived size and 3-D shape of a small, central object. Observers adjusted the size and shape of a virtual, binocularly defined ellipsoid to match those of a real, hand-held tennis ball. The virtual ball was presented at three distances (200, 325, and 450 mm). Vertical disparities in a large surround surface were manipulated to be consistent with a distance of 160 mm, or infinity. Both shape and size settings were influenced by this manipulation. This effect did not depend on presenting the surround and target objects at the same distance. These results suggest that the influence of vertical disparity on the perceived distance to a surface also affects the estimated distance of other visible surfaces. Vertical disparities are therefore important in the perception of metric depth, even for objects that in themselves subtend only small retinal images.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)696-702
Number of pages7
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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