The role of stereopsis in virtual anatomical learning

Jan-Maarten Luursema, Willem B. Verwey, Piet A.M. Kommers, Jan-Henk Annema

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


The use of virtual learning environments in the medical field is on the rise. An earlier experiment [Luursema, J.-M., Verwey, W.B., Kommers, P.A.M., Geelkerken, R.H., Vos, H.J., 2006. Optimizing conditions for computer-assisted anatomical learning. Interacting with Computers, 18, 1123–1138.] found that a combination of computer-implemented stereopsis (visual depth through seeing with both eyes) and dynamic exploration (being able to continuously change one’s viewpoint with respect to the objects studied in real-time) is beneficial to anatomical learning, especially for subjects of low visuo-spatial ability (the ability to form, retrieve and manipulate mental representations of a visuo-spatial nature). The present experiment investigated the contribution of computer-implemented stereopsis alone to anatomical learning. Two groups with a similar distribution of visuo-spatial ability were formed; one group studied a 3D computer model of the human abdominal anatomy in a stereoptic condition, the other group studied the same anatomy in a biocular condition (both eyes exposed to the same image). Although visuo-spatial ability was the most important variable predicting anatomical learning, computer implemented stereopsis provided a significant benefit for one of the post-tasks assessing this learning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)455-460
Number of pages6
JournalInteracting with computers
Issue number4-5
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Anatomical learning
  • Visuo-spatial ability
  • Stereopsis
  • Virtual learning environments


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