Shape-selective stereo processing in human object-related visual areas

Sharon Gilaie-Dotan, Shimon Ullman, Tammar Kushnir, Rafael Malach*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Object related areas in the human ventral stream were previously shown to be activated, in a shape-selective manner, by luminance, motion, and texture cues. We report on the preferential activation of these areas by stereo cues defining shape. To assess the relationship of this activation to object recognition, we employed a perceptual stereo effect, which profoundly affects object recognition. The stimuli consisted of stereo-defined line drawings of objects that either protruded in front of a flat background ("front"), or were sunk into the background ("back"). Despite the similarity in the local feature structure of the two conditions, object recognition was superior in the "front" compared to the "back" configuration. We measured both recognition rates and fMRI signal from the human visual cortex while subjects viewed these stimuli. The results reveal shape selective activation from images of objects defined purely by stereoscopic cues in the human ventral stream. Furthermore, they show a significant correlation between recognition and fMRI signal in the object-related occipito-temporal cortex (lateral occipital complex).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-79
Number of pages13
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Lateral occipital
  • Neuroimaging
  • Object recognition
  • Random dot stereograms
  • Stereopsis
  • Ventral stream
  • Visual areas
  • Visual cortex
  • fMRI


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