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Journal Article

Stereoscopic matching and the aperture problem


van Dam,  LCJ
Research Group Multisensory Perception and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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van Dam, L. (2004). Stereoscopic matching and the aperture problem. Perception, 33(7), 769-787. doi:doi:10.1068/p5263.

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In order to perceive stereoscopic depth, the visual system must define binocular disparities. Consider an oblique line seen through an aperture formed by flanking occluders. Because the line is perceived behind the aperture, the line must have disparity relative to the aperture. What is the assigned disparity of the line in this aperture problem? To answer this question five observers adjusted the horizontal disparity of a probe until it was perceived at the same depth as the disparate line behind the aperture. The results show that, when both the horizontal and the vertical disparities of the occluders are well-defined, the probe must have the same horizontal disparity as the horizontal separation between the line half-images. However, when the horizontal and vertical disparities of the occluders are ill-defined, the intersections of the line and the occluder borders can determine the matching direction. In the latter case, the matching direction varies with the aperture orientation and there is considerable variability across observers.