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Symmetry 2011, 3(3), 457-471; doi:10.3390/sym3030457

Mirror Symmetry Is Subject to Crowding

Department of Psychology, Concordia University, 7141 Sherbrooke Street, West, Montreal, QC, H4B 1R6, Canada
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 19 April 2011 / Revised: 9 June 2011 / Accepted: 28 June 2011 / Published: 13 July 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Symmetry Processing in Perception and Art)
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Mirror symmetry is often thought to be particularly salient to human observers because it engages specialized mechanisms that evolved to sense symmetrical objects in nature. Although symmetry is indeed present in many of our artifacts and markings on wildlife, studies have shown that sensitivity to mirror symmetry does not serve an alerting function and sensitivity to symmetry decreases in a rather unremarkable way when it is presented away from the centre of the visual field. Here we show that symmetrical targets are vulnerable to the same interference as other stimuli when surrounded by non-target elements. These results provide further evidence that symmetry is not special to the early visual system, and reinforce the notion that our fascination with symmetry is more likely attributable to cognitive and aesthetic factors than to specialized, low level mechanisms in the visual system.
Keywords: symmetry; crowding; periphery; cortical magnification; eccentricity symmetry; crowding; periphery; cortical magnification; eccentricity
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Roddy, G.; Gurnsey, R. Mirror Symmetry Is Subject to Crowding. Symmetry 2011, 3, 457-471.

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