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Decoding dorsal depth processing in the human brain.

Interpreting 3D structure is an integral part of our daily lives – whether we are crossing a road or watching a movie. The brain’s task is difficult: it has to arrive at a stable interpretation using ambiguous signals registered by the two eyes. This problem has fascinated artists, philosophers and scientists for centuries, yet we know surprisingly little about the neural circuits that support 3D perception. We use advanced brain imaging techniques to reveal how the brain organises, interprets and combines information about depth provided by a range of depth cues (e.g. binocular disparity, shading, shadows and motion). We aim to show that there are high-level interactions between pathways in the visual cortex that have traditionally been treated as separate hierarchies. In particular, our hypothesis is that depth signals traditionally regarded as being used to control movements are also useful to support our perception of 3D objects. To test these ideas, we use functional brain imaging, advanced computational analysis, behavioural tests of patients with brain lesions and stimulation techniques that induce temporary, focal disruptions of brain activity in healthy participants. This work advances our understanding of how the brain combines visual signals to interpret 3D structure.

BRAINfest 2017

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