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Stereoscopic depth perception relies on binocular disparities, or small geometric differences between the retinal images of each eye. The most reliable binocular depth judgments are those that are based on relative disparities between two simultaneously visible features in a scene. Many cortical areas contain neurons that are sensitive to disparity, but it is unclear whether any areas show a specific sensitivity to relative disparity. We recorded from neurons in the early cortical visual area V2 of the awake macaque during presentation of random-dot patterns. The depth of a central region ('center'), and that of an annular surrounding region ('surround'), were manipulated independently in these stimuli. Some cells were fully selective for the resulting relative disparities. Most showed partial selectivity, which nonetheless indicated a sensitivity for the depth relationship between center and surround. Both types of neural response could support psychophysical judgments of relative depth.

Original publication




Journal article


Nat Neurosci

Publication Date





472 - 478


Animals, Depth Perception, Macaca mulatta, Neurons, Photic Stimulation, Vision Disparity, Visual Cortex, Wakefulness