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The First Appearance of Symmetry in the Human Lineage: Where Perception Meets Art
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Symmetry 2011, 3(1), 54-71; doi:10.3390/sym3010054

The Influence of Perception on the Distribution of Multiple Symmetries in Nature and Art

Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition, and Behaviour, Radboud University Nijmegen, Montessorilaan 3, 6525 HR Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Received: 9 February 2011 / Revised: 7 March 2011 / Accepted: 16 March 2011 / Published: 21 March 2011
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Abstract

Much is already known about single mirror symmetry, but multiple mirror symmetry is still understood poorly. In particular, perceptually, multiple symmetry does not seem to behave as suggested by the number of symmetry axes alone. Here, theoretical ideas on single symmetry perception and their extensions to multiple symmetry are discussed alongside empirical findings on multiple symmetry perception. The evidence suggests that, apart from the number of axes, also their relative orientation is perceptually relevant. This, in turn, suggests that perception is responsible for the preponderance of 3-fold and 5-fold symmetries in flowers as well as for their absence in decorative art.
Keywords: decorative art; evolution; multiple symmetry; perception models; perceptual organization; symmetry perception; symmetry preference decorative art; evolution; multiple symmetry; perception models; perceptual organization; symmetry perception; symmetry preference
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Van der Helm, P.A. The Influence of Perception on the Distribution of Multiple Symmetries in Nature and Art. Symmetry 2011, 3, 54-71.

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