Original Paper

European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience

, Volume 246, Issue 5, pp 256-260

Visual 3D illusion: A systems-theoretical approach to psychosis

  • U. SchmeiderAffiliated withDepartment of Clinical Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, School of Medicine
  • , F. M. LewekeAffiliated withDepartment of Clinical Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, School of Medicine
  • , U. SternemannAffiliated withDepartment of Clinical Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, School of Medicine
  • , H. M. EmrichAffiliated withDepartment of Clinical Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, School of Medicine
  • , M. M. WeberAffiliated withMax Planck Institute of Psychiatry

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Abstract

Binocular depth inversion represents an illusion of visual perception. Such an inversion does not occur in all cases, especially when objects with a higher degree of familiarity (e.g. photographs of faces) are displayed. Cognitive factors are assumed to override the binocular disparity cues of stereopsis. We tested the hypothesis that during psychotic and similar states the human CNS is unable to correct the implausible perceptual hypothesis. Measurements of binocular depth inversion in perception of 3D objects were performed in schizophrenic patients (n=13), in patients with alcohol withdrawal (n=10), in sleep-deprived medical staff (n=10) and in healthy volunteers (n=41). The binocular depth inversion scores were highly elevated in the patient group and in the sleep-deprivated medical staff in comparison with healthy volunteers. The data demonstrate that impairment of binocular depth inversion reflects a common final pathway, characterized by an impairment of adaptive systems regulating perception.

Key words

Binocular depth inversion Schizophrenia Alcohol withdrawal Sleep deprivation Systems theory