Seeing 3D surfaces: neural stimulation, learning and masking

Pelekanos, Vassilis (2015). Seeing 3D surfaces: neural stimulation, learning and masking. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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In the present dissertation, I assessed the visual hierarchy stages that support the visual perception of three-dimensional (3D) surfaces. In the first experimental chapter, I used fMRI-guided rTMS to probe the cortical areas involved in the perception of slanted surfaces. Results hint at a functional contribution of the dorso-parietal visual stream (posterior parietal cortex; PPC) to slant estimation, however, further work is needed to fully understand the nature of its involvement. I then showed that fMRI-guided rTMS-induced disruption of the ventral stream (area LO) eliminates the facilitation observed, in 3D surface discrimination, when disparity and motion cues congruently inform depth. This finding indicates that LO encodes signals for the integration of depth cues. Then, I showed rTMS evidence that disparity and orientation signal-in-noise discriminations causally relate to PPC’s function. Interestingly, this relation diminishes after training on a visual feature other than the one employed during rTMS testing. This finding indicates that training, even across visual features, can influence neuronal organization. Finally, I used backward masking to show that brightness masking incorporates the 3D information of disparity-defined slant. This finding suggests that brightness estimation is mediated by mid-level neuronal mechanisms, at a cortical stage where binocular signals have been combined.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Psychology
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Q Science > QP Physiology


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