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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Studies of human depth perception in real and pictured environments

  • Author(s): Cooper, Emily Averill
  • Advisor(s): Banks, Martin S
  • et al.

Determining the three-dimensional (3D) layout of the natural environment is an important but difficult visual function. It is difficult because the 3D layout of a scene and the shapes of 3D objects are not explicit in the 2D retinal images. The visual system uses both binocular (two eyes) and monocular (one eye) cues to determine 3D layout from these images. The same cues that are used to determine the layout of real scenes are also present in photographs and realistic pictures of 3D scenes. The work described in this dissertation examines how people perceive 3D layout in the natural environment and in pictures. Chapter 1 provides an introduction to the specific 3D cues that will be studied. Chapter 2 describes a series of experiments examining how the visual system's use of binocular cues might be adaptive to improve depth perception in the natural environment. Chapter 3 describes a series of experiments examining how the visual system interprets monocular linear perspective cues, and how this can lead to perceptual distortions in perceived 3D from pictures. Chapter 4, the Conclusion, discusses how the work described in this dissertation might be applied to creating better displays and pictures.

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