Visual asymmetries for relative depth judgments in a three-dimensional space
Nicholls, Michael Elmo Richard
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Our ability to process information about an object’s location in depth varies along the horizontal and vertical axes. These variations reflect functional specialisation of the cerebral hemispheres as well as the ventral/dorsal visual streams for processing stimuli located in near and far space. Prior research has demonstrated visual field superiorities for processing near space in the lower and right hemispaces and for far space in the upper and left hemispaces. No research, however, has directly tested whether the functional specialisation of the visual fields actually makes objects look closer when presented in the lower or right visual fields. To measure biases in the perception of depth, we employed anaglyph stimuli where participants made closer/further judgments about the relative location of two spheres in a three-dimensional virtual space. We observed clear processing differences in this task where participants perceived the right and lower spheres to be closer and the left and upper spheres to be further away. Furthermore, no relationship between the horizontal and vertical dimensions was observed suggesting separate cognitive/neural mechanisms. Not only does this methodology clearly demonstrate differences in perceived depth across the visual field, it also opens up many possibilities for studying functional asymmetries in three-dimensional space.
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