From Stereogram to Surface: How the Brain Sees the World in Depth
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When we look at a scene, how do we consciously see surfaces infused with lightness and color at the correct depths? Random Dot Stereograms (RDS) probe how binocular disparity between the two eyes can generate such conscious surface percepts. Dense RDS do so despite the fact that they include multiple false binocular matches. Sparse stereograms do so even across large contrast-free regions with no binocular matches. Stereograms that define occluding and occluded surfaces lead to surface percepts wherein partially occluded textured surfaces are completed behind occluding textured surfaces at a spatial scale much larger than that of the texture elements themselves. Earlier models suggest how the brain detects binocular disparity, but not how RDS generate conscious percepts of 3D surfaces. A neural model predicts how the layered circuits of visual cortex generate these 3D surface percepts using interactions between visual boundary and surface representations that obey complementary computational rules.