November 9, 2010 1:43 PM Subscribe
Is the average person really that dependent upon stereoscopic vision?
posted by TeslaNick to Science & Nature (29 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I'm listening to an interview (Fresh Air podcast, 26/10/10) with neurologist and writer Oliver Sacks regarding his experience with going blind in one eye. He describes the transition from stereoscopic to monoscopic vision as rather difficult -- his initial experience was a total lack of depth and difficulty with defining objects in their physical space. He describes having difficulty with stairs, pouring glasses of wine, shaking someone's hand, etc.
Is this really a significant issue for other people? I remember learning about stereoscopic vision when I was a kid and becoming very interested in it, I think primarily because it didn't seem to "work" for me. I could walk around with one eye covered and navigate space as well as with both eyes open. I would experiment with this on summer days where I had a lot of time on my hands, so I would spend hours viewing the world monoscopically with no serious consequences.
I have no memory of identifying something in three dimensional space via stereoscopic vision until my late teens (when I became interested in it again). Even today, it's tertiary to other ways of locating objects in their surroundings. I unconsciously place more value onparallax, perspective, and shading.
Are other people as dependent on stereoscopic vision as Oliver Sacks is, or is his case relatively unique? He does describe himself as a lover of stereoscopic vision, surmises that he had unusually strong stereo vision, etc.
Posting in science and nature because that's as close as I can get?