Clinically Normal Stereopsis Does Not Ensure a Performance Benefit From Stereoscopic 3D Depth Cues

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To investigate the effect of manipulating disparity on task performance and viewing comfort, twelve participants were tested on a virtual object precision placement task while viewing a stereoscopic 3D (S3D) display. All participants had normal or corrected-to-normal visual acuity, passed the Titmus stereovision clinical test, and demonstrated normal binocular function, including phorias and binocular fusion ranges. Each participant completed six experimental sessions with different maximum binocular disparity limits. The results for ten of the twelve participants were generally as expected, demonstrating a large performance advantage when S3D cues were provided. The sessions with the larger disparity limits typically resulted in the best performance, and the sessions with no S3D cues the poorest performance. However, one participant demonstrated poorer performance in sessions with smaller disparity limits but improved performance in sessions with the larger disparity limits. Another participant’s performance declined whenever any S3D cues were provided. Follow-up testing suggested that the phenomenon of pseudo-stereoanomaly may account for one viewer’s atypical performance, while the phenomenon of stereoanomaly might account for the other. Overall, the results demonstrate that a subset of viewers with clinically normal binocular and stereoscopic vision may have difficulty performing depth-related tasks on S3D displays. The possibility of the vergence–accommodation conflict contributing to individual performance differences is also discussed.



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