Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 170, Issue 3, pp 302–311 | Cite as

Two eyes in action

  • Eli BrennerEmail author
  • Jeroen B. J. Smeets
Research Article


Do relative binocular disparities guide our movements in depth? In order to find out we asked subjects to move a ‘cursor’ to a target within a simulated horizontal plane at eye height. They did so by moving a computer mouse. We determined how quickly subjects responded to the target jumping in depth. We found that it took subjects about 200 ms to respond to changes in binocular disparity. Subjects responded just as quickly if the cursor was temporarily only visible to one eye near the time that the target jumped in depth, and less vigorously, though just as quickly, if the cursor jumped rather than the target, so the fastest binocular responses cannot be based directly on the relative retinal disparity between the target and the cursor. Subjects reacted faster to changes in the target’s height in the visual field than to changes in binocular disparity, but did not react faster to changes in image size. These results suggest that binocular vision mainly improves people’s everyday movements by giving them a better sense of the distances of relevant objects, rather than by relative retinal disparities being used to directly guide the movement. We propose that relative disparities only guide parts of very slow movements that require extreme precision.


Motor control Binocular vision Latency Disparity Prehension Stereopsis Distance Human 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NeuroscienceErasmusMCRotterdamThe Netherlands

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