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The Use of Stereoscopic Cues in the Perception of Noise Masked Images of Natural Objects

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de la Rosa, S. (2008). The Use of Stereoscopic Cues in the Perception of Noise Masked Images of Natural Objects. PhD Thesis, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0003-1D00-D
When seen through a stereoscope, a Gabor pattern (a Gaussian enveloped sinusoid) that is masked by visual noise is more readily detectable when it appears in front of or behind the noise than when it is embedded in the noise itself. The enhanced visibility brought about by stereo cues is referred to as binocular unmasking. In this work, we investigated whether binocular unmasking may also occur with visual objects more complex than simple Gabor patterns, and with tasks more demanding than detection. Specifically, we examined the effects of binocular unmasking in the detection, categorization, and identification of noise masked images of natural objects. We observed the occurrence of binocular unmasking in all three tasks. However, the size of this effect was greater for detection performance than for categorization or identification performance; the latter two benefited to the same extent by the availability of stereoscopic cues. We argue that these results suggest that low level stereoscopic depth cues may play a helpful role, not only in simple detection tasks with psychophysical stimuli, but also in the perception of complex stimuli depicting natural objects.