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Functional MRI of self-controlled stereoscopic depth perception

Merboldt, Klaus-DietmarCA; Baudewig, Jürgen; Treue, Stefan1; Frahm, Jens


Stereoscopic depth perception was studied in healthy young adults using fMRI imaging at 2.0 T. In a novel paradigm we compared the cortical activation elicited by single-image stereograms which create alternating 2D and 3D percepts (event-related analysis triggered on the self-controlled switches between the two percepts) with the activation caused by a more conventional approach contrasting pairs of stereoscopic images with pairs of identical images (block design). The data show a distributed network of cortical areas embedded within the visual pathways that included about one-quarter of the cortical surface activated by 2D visual stimulation and about one-half of the area activated by 3D percepts based on stereoscopic image pair. 3D perception recruited mostly neuronal populations in higher order visual areas: whereas about 40% of the visually activated locations along the intraparietal sulcus were also activated by 3D perception based on single-image stereograms (resp. 90% stereoscopic images), only 10% such overlap was found in striate cortex. The study revealed no sup-port for a right-hemispheric lateralization of depth perception.

Biomedizinische NMR Forschungs GmbH am Max-Planck-Institut für biophysikalische Chemie, 37070 Göttingen

1Abteilung Kognitive Neurowissenschaften, Deutsches Primatenzentrum GmbH, 37077 Göttingen, Germany

CACorresponding Author:

Received 18 June 2002; accepted 6 July 2002

© 2002 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.