Visual perception of smoothly curved surfaces from double-projected contour patterns.J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform. 1990 Aug; 16(3):665-74.JE
This research was designed to examine how human observers are able to perceive the 3-dimensional structure of smoothly curved surfaces from projected patterns of surface contours. Displays were generated by using a method of double projection that made it possible to cover a surface with a wide range of contour patterns of varying geometric structure and to eliminate systematic variations of image shading. The compelling impression of 3-dimensional form from these patterns provides strong evidence that the ability of observers to perceptually interpret surface contours is considerably less restrictive than would be reasonable to expect on the basis of existing computational models. Results suggest that the perceptual analysis of surface contours is able to exploit statistical regularities of contour structure over appropriately large regions of visual space.