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The Extraction of 3D Shape in the Visual System of Human and Nonhuman Primates

Depth structure, the third dimension of object shape, is extracted from disparity, motion, texture, and shading in the optic array. Gradient-selective neurons play a key role in this process. Such neurons occur in CIP, AIP, TEs, and F5 (for first- or second-order disparity gradients), in MT/V5, in FST (for speed gradients), and in CIP and TEs (for texture gradients). Most of these regions are activated during magnetic resonance scanning in alert monkeys by comparing 3D conditions with the 2D controls for the different cues. Similarities in activation patterns of monkeys and humans tested with identical paradigms suggest that like gradient-selective neurons are found in corresponding human cortical areas. This view gains credence as the homologies between such areas become more evident. Furthermore, 3D shape-processing networks are similar in the two species, with the exception of the greater involvement of human posterior parietal cortex in the extraction of 3D shape from motion. Thus we can begin to understand how depth structure is extracted from motion, disparity, and texture in the primate brain, but the extraction of depth structure from shading and that of wire-like objects requires further scrutiny.

Guy A. Orban
The Extraction of 3D Shape in the Visual System of Human and Nonhuman Primates
Annual Review of Neuroscience
Vol. 34: 361-388 (Volume publication date July 2011)
First published online as a Review in Advance on March 29, 2011
DOI: 10.1146/annurev-neuro-061010-113819


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