Special Issue "Symmetry Processing in Perception and Art"
A special issue of Symmetry (ISSN 2073-8994).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2011)
Dr. Christopher W. Tyler (Website)
Smith-Kettlewell Brain Imaging Center, Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, 2318 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA 94115, USA
Fax: +1 415 345 8455
Interests: human symmetry perception; mathematical systems analysis; complexity theory; texture analysis; self-referential systems; symmetry in art; consciousness
Although symmetry is a fundamental organizing principle of the universe in both abstract conceptual sense and the explicit form of mirror symmetry in organisms, visual symmetry is not much in evidence in the natural world. A view of any purely natural scene shows few exactly symmetric objects, and those that are approximately symmetric are usually life forms of some sort. Thus, at the level of our perception, symmetry is something that is imposed on the world by animate organisms, either by virtue of their biological make-up or by the constructions of human civilization. This view is paradoxical in relation to artistic depictions, in which the background and compositional structure is often symmetrical, while the figures representing the action are usually asymmetrical. Similarly, symmetries of various kinds play a huge role in the composition of music, and may be regarded as the key factor that distinguishes this artificial auditory environment from undifferentiated noise. Thus, symmetry is a largely human concoction that weaves an interesting perceptual counterpoint through our understanding of, and interactions with, the world on the human scale of visual and auditory perception.
This conceptualization provides the motivation for a Feature Issue bringing together contributions on the rigorous analysis of human symmetry processing through art and perceptual studies of all varieties. Submissions are encouraged from the fields of neuroscience and neuroimaging, as well as the quantitative analysis of symmetry perception in art productions and laboratory materials, with a particular emphasis on the neural and evolutionary mechanisms underlying the unique human appreciation of symmetry and the drive to propagate it through our societal environment.
Dr. Christopher W. Tyler