Seeing 'Ghost' Solutions in Stereo Vision

Unknown author (1988-09-01)

A unique matching is a stated objective of most computational theories of stereo vision. This report describes situations where humans perceive a small number of surfaces carried by non-unique matching of random dot patterns, although a unique solution exists and is observed unambiguously in the perception of isolated features. We find both cases where non-unique matchings compete and suppress each other and cases where they are all perceived as transparent surfaces. The circumstances under which each behavior occurs are discussed and a possible explanation is sketched. It appears that matching reduces many false targets to a few, but may still yield multiple solutions in some cases through a (possibly different) process of surface interpolation.