We investigated the effects of linear perspective and binocular disparity, as monocular and binocular depth cues, respectively, on the response of surface-orientation-selective (SOS) neurons in the caudal part of the lateral bank of the intraparietal sulcus (area CIP). During the single-unit recording, monkeys were required to perform the delayed-matching-to-sample (successive same/different discrimination) of discriminating surface orientation in stereoscopic computer graphics. Of 211 visually responsive neurons, 66 were intensively tested using the solid-figure stereogram (SFS) of a square plate with both disparity and perspective cues (D+P condition), and 62 of these were identified as SOS neurons for responding selectively to the orientation of stimuli. All these neurons were further tested using a solid figure with perspective cues alone (P-only condition), and 58% (36/62) of these showed selective response to the orientation of the stimuli. Of the 62 SOS neurons, 35 neurons were also tested using SFS with disparity cues alone (D-only condition) in addition to the D+P and P-only conditions. We classified these 35 neurons into four groups by comparing the response selectivity under the P-only and D-only conditions. More than one-half of these (19/35) were sensitive to both perspective and disparity cues (DP neurons), and nearly one-third (11/35) of these were sensitive to disparity cues alone (D neurons), but a few (2/35) were sensitive to perspective cues alone (P neurons). The remaining (3/35) neurons exhibited orientation selectivity only when both cues were present. In DP neurons, the preferred orientation under the D+P condition was correlated to those under the D-only and P-only conditions, and the response magnitude under the D+P condition was greater than those under the D-only and P-only conditions, suggesting the integration of both cues for the perception of surface orientation. However, in these neurons, the orientation tuning sharpness under the D+P and D-only conditions was higher than that under the P-only condition, suggesting the dominance of disparity cues. After the single-unit recording experiments, muscimol was microinjected into the recording site to temporarily inactivate its function. In all three effective cases out of six microinjection experiments, discrimination of a three-dimensional (3D) surface orientation was impaired when disparity cues alone were present. In only one effective case, when a relatively large amount of muscimol was microinjected, discrimination of a 3D surface orientation was impaired even when both disparity and perspective cues were present. These results suggest that linear perspective is an important cue for representations of a 3D surface of SOS neurons in area CIP, although it is less effective than binocular disparity, and that both of these depth cues may be integrated in area CIP for the perception of surface orientation in depth.
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