May 2007
Volume 48, Issue 13
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   May 2007
Genetic Contribution to Individual Differences in Depth Judgement From Binocular Disparity
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • J. B. Wilmer
    Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • B. T. Backus
    Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships J.B. Wilmer, None; B.T. Backus, None.
  • Footnotes
    Support NEI Kirschstein-NRSA postdoctoral fellowship to JBW and NIH RO1-EY13988 to BTB
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science May 2007, Vol.48, 5884. doi:
  • Views
  • Share
  • Tools
    • Alerts
      This feature is available to authenticated users only.
      Sign In or Create an Account ×
    • Get Citation

      J. B. Wilmer, B. T. Backus; Genetic Contribution to Individual Differences in Depth Judgement From Binocular Disparity. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2007;48(13):5884.

      Download citation file:

      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

  • Supplements

Purpose:: One in three individuals is essentially blind to some range of stereoscopic depth for briefly presented stimuli (Richards, 1970). What are the relative contributions of genes and environment to these individual differences?

Methods:: The degree to which identical twins (100% genetically similar) are more similar for a given trait than fraternal twins (50% genetically similar) indicates the heritability of that trait. We used a recently developed stereo test of perceived depth by van Ee & Richards (2002) to test 90 identical and 20 fraternal twin pairs on a range of binocular disparities (13 levels from 2 deg crossed to 2 deg uncrossed) and at two durations (.2 or 1.5 sec). We computed the precision of each individual's depth judgements for near and far disparities, and for long and short durations.

Results:: Identical twins' depth estimation precision was more similar than fraternal twins' across the disparities and durations tested, suggesting heritability. This difference reached statistical significance (p=0.01) for the uncrossed, long duration stimuli, so performance over this spatial and temporal range may be particularly heritable. However, performance was generally poorer for crossed and short duration stimuli, so future testing may reveal heritability at other depths and display durations.

Conclusions:: Our results suggest that one's ability to precisely determine depth from binocular disparity is heritable, at least for some spatial and temporal ranges, and they provide the first step toward identifying clinically significant genes that influence depth perception.Richards W. (1970) Stereopsis and stereoblindness. Exp Br Res, 10, 380-8.van Ee R., Richards W. (2002) A planar and a volumetric test for stereoanomaly. Perception, 31, 51-64.

Keywords: binocular vision/stereopsis • genetics • depth 

This PDF is available to Subscribers Only

Sign in or purchase a subscription to access this content. ×

You must be signed into an individual account to use this feature.