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Dissociating neural activity associated with the subjective phenomenology of monocular stereopsis: an EEG study

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Makoto Uji, Ines Jentzsch, James Redburn, Dhanraj Vishwanath

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The subjective phenomenology associated with stereopsis, of solid tangible objects separated by a palpable negative space, is conventionally thought to be a by-product of the derivation of depth from binocular disparity. However, the same qualitative impression has been reported in the absence of disparity, e.g., when viewing pictorial images monocularly through an aperture. Here we aimed to explore if we could identify dissociable neural activity associated with the qualitative impression of stereopsis, in the absence of the processing of binocular disparities. We measured EEG activity while subjects viewed pictorial (non-stereoscopic) images of 2D and 3D geometric forms under four different viewing conditions (Binocular, Monocular, Binocular aperture, Monocular aperture). EEG activity was analysed by oscillatory source localization (beamformer technique) to examine power change in occipital and parietal regions across viewing and stimulus conditions in targeted frequency bands (alpha: 8–13Hz & gamma: 60–90Hz). We observed expected event-related gamma synchronization and alpha desynchronization in occipital cortex and predominant gamma synchronization in parietal cortex across viewing and stimulus conditions. However, only the viewing condition predicted to generate the strongest impression of stereopsis (monocular aperture) revealed significantly elevated gamma synchronization within the parietal cortex for the critical contrasts (3D vs. 2D form). These findings suggest dissociable neural processes specific to the qualitative impression of stereopsis as distinguished from disparity processing.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-371
Early online date26 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019

    Research areas

  • Stereopsis, Monocular aperture, EEG, Qualitative impression, Parietal cortex, Gamma synchronization

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