Bram-Ernst Verhoef, Rufin Vogels, Peter Janssen
One of the fundamental goals of neuroscience is to understand how perception arises from the activity of neurons in the brain . Stereopsis is a type of three-dimensional (3D) perception that relies on two slightly different projections of the world onto the retinas of the two eyes, i.e., binocular disparity. Neurons selective for curved surfaces defined by binocular disparity may contribute to the perception of an object’s 3D structure. Such neurons have been observed in both the anterior lower bank of the superior temporal sulcus (TEs, part of the inferior temporal cortex [IT]) and the anterior intraparietal area (AIP; [2,3,4]). However, the specific contributions of IT and AIP to depth perception remain unknown. We simultaneously recorded multiunit activity in IT and AIP while monkeys discriminated between concave and convex 3D shapes. We observed a correlation between the neural activity and behavioral choice that arose early and during perceptual decision formation in IT but later and after perceptual decision formation in AIP. These results suggest a role for IT, but not AIP, in 3D shape discrimination. Furthermore, the results demonstrate that similar neuronal stimulus selectivities in two areas do not imply a similar function.