Why Is Spatial Stereoresolution so Low?

Martin S. Banks, Sergei Gepshtein, Michael S. Landy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Spatial stereoresolution (the finest detectable modulation of binocular disparity) is much poorer than luminance resolution (finest detectable luminance variation). In a series of psychophysical experiments, we examined four factors that could cause low stereoresolution: (1) the sampling properties of the stimulus, (2) the disparity gradient limit, (3) low-pass spatial filtering by mechanisms early in the visual process, and (4) the method bywhich binocular matches are computed. Our experimental results reveal the contributions of the first three factors. A theoretical analysis of binocular matching by interocular correlation reveals the contribution of the fourth: the highest attainable stereoresolution may be limited by (1) the smallest useful correlation window in the visual system, and (2) a matching process that estimates the disparity of image patches and assumes that disparity is constant across the patch. Both properties are observed in disparity-selective neurons in area V1 of the primate (Nienborg et al., 2004).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2077-2089
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number9
StatePublished - Mar 3 2004


  • Binocular correspondence
  • Binocular disparity
  • Binocular vision
  • Disparity energy model
  • Stereopsis
  • Stereoresolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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