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Separating shading into shape, material and illumination
Much of our understanding of the cortical circuits responsible for 3D shape perception has been driven by parametric manipulations of very simple disparity-defined stimuli (e.g. flat or slanted planes depicted in random dot stereograms). This work points to a key role for higher-dorsal circuits in processing 3D shape information. However, it is possible that planar stimuli stimulate ventral areas sub-optimally, meaning that previous work has underestimated the contributions of intermediate ventral circuits. Here we aim to study more ‘shape-like’ stimuli to test the contributions of the ventral processing stream. We aim to identify the cortical circuits that process 3D shape information for more complex disparity-defined structures (curved and undulating objects) in addition to considering the brain’s use of ‘pictorial’ depth cues such as shading and shadow.