Stereopsis and contrast

Gordon E. Legge, Gu Yuanchao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

228 Scopus citations


We have measured threshold disparity as a function of the spatial frequency (0.25-20 c/deg) and contrast (0.02-0.75) of sine-wave gratings. In forced-choice trials, subjects indicated whether a target grating had crossed or uncrossed disparity relative to a reference grating. Thresholds were lowest near 3 c/deg and rose in proportion to spatial period at lower frequencies. Above 3 c/deg, there were marked individual differences. Across the range of spatial frequencies, disparity sensitivity and contrast sensitivity were correlated (r = 0.84). Threshold disparity was inversely proportional to the square root of contrast. When the contrast seen by one eye was reduced producing unequal monocular contrasts, threshold disparity rose more than when the contrast seen by the two eyes was reduced by the same amount. Our results have implications for stereo models that use zero crossings, peaks and troughs, or centroids as matching primitives. These models can account for the decline in disparity sensitivity at low sapatial frequencies but only the peak model satisfactorily accounts for the effect of contrast. If the limiting sources of noise in the two eyes are highly correlated, the effect of unequal monocular contrast can be accounted for using a differential-amplifier principle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)989-1004
Number of pages16
JournalVision Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1989

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2014 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Contrast
  • Spatial frequency
  • Stereopsis


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