Two binocular cues are thought to underlie the visual perception of three-dimensional (3D) motion: a disparity-based cue, which relies on changes in disparity over time, and a velocity-based cue, which relies on interocular velocity differences. The respective building blocks of these cues, instantaneous disparity and retinal motion, exhibit very distinct spatial and temporal signatures. Although these two cues are synchronous in naturally moving objects, disparity-based and velocity-based mechanisms can be dissociated experimentally. We therefore investigated how the relative contributions of these two cues change across a range of viewing conditions. We measured direction-discrimination sensitivity for motion though depth across a wide range of eccentricities and speeds for disparity-based stimuli, velocity-based stimuli, and "full cue" stimuli containing both changing disparities and interocular velocity differences. Surprisingly, the pattern of sensitivity for velocity-based stimuli was nearly identical to that for full cue stimuli across the entire extent of the measured spatiotemporal surface and both were clearly distinct from those for the disparity-based stimuli. These results suggest that for direction discrimination outside the fovea, 3D motion perception primarily relies on the velocity-based cue with little, if any, contribution from the disparity-based cue.
ASJC Scopus subject areas