Effects of pattern orientation and number of symmetry axes on the detection of mirror symmetry in dot and solid patterns

Peter Wenderoth*, Sebastian Welsh

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    22 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    It has been postulated that as the number of axes of symmetry in a pattern increases, so pattern 'goodness' increases. Recently, a distinction was made between two different theoretical accounts of regularity or 'goodness' in relation to patterns with mirror symmetry: the 'transformational' and the 'holographic' models. It was argued that the former predicts a 'goodness' ordering of four > three > two > one whereas the latter predicts four > two > three > one, where '>' means greater regularity or goodness. In three experiments, we have tested these predictions. In experiment 1, we measured percentage correct and reaction time to dot patterns which had one, two, three, or four axes of symmetry and were flashed for 150 ms. Experiment 2 was identical except that patterns were presented for 2000 ms. In experiment 3, dot patterns were replaced by solid shapes which also had one, two, three, or four axes of symmetry. Although it was found that stimuli with four axes clearly allowed superior performance to that of stimuli with one axis, results obtained with stimuli with two and three axes were almost identical and in between those obtained with one and four axes. The data thus support the suggestion that extra axes add 'goodness' to symmetrical patterns but not in a monotonic fashion.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)965-976
    Number of pages12
    JournalPerception
    Volume27
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - 1998

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