Gradients of relative disparity underlie the perceived slant of stereoscopic surfaces

Susan G. Wardle*, Barbara J. Gillam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
15 Downloads (Pure)


Perceived stereoscopic slant around a vertical axis is strongly underestimated for isolated surfaces, suggesting that neither uniocular image compression nor linear gradients of absolute disparity are very effective cues. However, slant increases to a level close to geometric prediction if gradients of relative disparity are introduced, for example by placing flanking frontalparallel surfaces at the horizontal boundaries of the slanted surface. Here we examine the mechanisms underlying this slant enhancement by manipulating properties of the slanted surface or the flanking surfaces. Perceived slant was measured using a probe bias method. In Experiment 1, an outlined surface and a randomly textured surface showed similar slant underestimation when presented in isolation, but the enhancement in slant produced by flankers was significantly greater for the textured surface. In Experiment 2, we degraded the relative disparity gradient by (a) reducing overall texture density, (b) reducing flanker width, or (c) adding disparity noise to the flankers. Density had no effect while adding noise to the flankers, or reducing their width significantly decreased perceived slant of the central surface. These results support the view that the enhancement of slant produced by adding flanking surfaces is attributable to the presence of a relative disparity gradient and that the flanker effect can spread to regions of the surface not directly above or below the gradient.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Vision
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016

Bibliographical note

Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Depth matching
  • Disparity gradients
  • Relative disparity
  • Slant anisotropy
  • Stereoscopic slant


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