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Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience

October 1, 2002, Vol. 14, No. 7, Pages 1018-1029
(doi: 10.1162/089892902320474472)
© 2002 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Stereoscopic Illusory Contours—Cortical Neuron Responses and Human Perception
Article PDF (1.57 MB)

In human perception, figure-ground segregation suggests that stereoscopic cues are grouped over wide areas of the visual field. For example, two abutting rectangles of equal luminance and size are seen as a uniform surface when presented at the same depth, but appear as two surfaces separated by an illusory contour and a step in depth when presented with different retinal disparities. Here, we describe neurons in the monkey visual cortex that signal such illusory contours and can be selective for certain figure-ground directions that human observers perceive at these contours. The results suggest that these neurons group stereoscopic cues over distances up to 8°. In addition, we compare these results with human perception and show that the mean stimulus parameters required by these neurons also induce optimal percepts of illusory contours in human observers.