Special Issue "Visual Symmetry"


A special issue of Symmetry (ISSN 2073-8994).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2014

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Yuka Sasaki
Brown University, Department of Cognitive, Linguistic & Psychological Sciences, Box 1821, 190 Thayer Street Providence, RI 02912, USA
E-Mail: Yuka_Sasaki@brown.edu
Interests: unconscious brain activity; visual/motor skill learning during wakefulness and sleep; non-invasive neuroimaging techniques including functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and magnetoencephalography (MEG)

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Humans have appreciated and created symmetric objects in all ages and cultures. Why does symmetry attract us so much? In this special issue of Symmetry, we focus on visual symmetry. We call for papers to gather behavioral and neuroimaging evidence for visual symmetry to attract, influence and bias humans and animals preference, and decision-making, in hope to deepen understanding of our appreciation of symmetry.

Dr. Yuka Sasaki
Guest Editor


Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Symmetry is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 500 CHF (Swiss Francs). English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.


  • vision
  • perception
  • decision-making
  • electroencephalogram (EEG)
  • magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • magnetoencephalography (MEG)

Published Papers (4 papers)

Symmetry 2014, 6(3), 566-577; doi:10.3390/sym6030566
Received: 14 February 2014; in revised form: 17 June 2014 / Accepted: 19 June 2014 / Published: 7 July 2014
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abstract graphic

by , , , , ,  and
Symmetry 2014, 6(2), 427-443; doi:10.3390/sym6020427
Received: 19 February 2014; in revised form: 13 May 2014 / Accepted: 14 May 2014 / Published: 26 May 2014
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Symmetry 2014, 6(2), 222-233; doi:10.3390/sym6020222
Received: 21 February 2014; in revised form: 24 March 2014 / Accepted: 26 March 2014 / Published: 17 April 2014
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by ,  and
Symmetry 2014, 6(1), 1-22; doi:10.3390/sym6010001
Received: 26 September 2013; in revised form: 30 December 2013 / Accepted: 30 December 2013 / Published: 2 January 2014
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Why Are Flowers Beautiful? The Perceptual Meaning of Radial Symmetry of Shape and Color
Baingio Pinna
Affiliation: Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Sassari, Italy
What is the perceptual e biological meaning of radial symmetry of shape and color in flowers? To answer this question The starting point aimed to answer this question is found within a “to show list” that involve to use of symmetrical shapes and colors in all kinds of living organism according to the following list—to show the whole; to show a part; to show some parts more clearly than others; to show something that would be otherwise invisible; to show parts that are not natural parts; to show fragments; to show in order to hide; to show to break and split, etc. The answer to the question “why are flowers beautiful?” was extracted from this list in terms of perceptual organization and through psychophysical experiments.
Keywords: color vision; evolution; adaptation; camouflage; filling-in; perceptual organization; watercolor illusion

Title: The Beauty of the Square. Symmetry vs. Asymmetry, Simplicity vs. Complexity
Baingio Pinna and Katia Deiana
Affiliation: Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Sassari, Italy
The Gestalt approach to object perception is based on two phenomenal dynamics: figure-ground segregation and grouping. This approach is here reconsidered in the light of a special limiting shape, the square, that is a pure human product, an extraordinary creation of the human brain, not present in nature unlike other singular shapes, e.g., the circle. The iris and the pupil, the full moon and the sun are circles. The square is something more. It is the measure of all things, both shapes and spaces. As such, the square is the reference shape and the human elementary component of all the possible shapes. The rectangle is a square with elongated sides; the triangle is half of a square and so on. Every object and space either regular or irregular is measured in squares (m2) or in cubes (m3). By moving around the gaze and focusing the attention on the shapes, one can easily notice that almost everything has a square shape. Most of the human artifacts are made up of squares or its variations. The main purpose of this work is to answer through psychophysical experiments the following questions: Why is the square so important? What does make the square so basic and important in human artifacts?
shape perception; color perception; perceptual organization; vision and art; visual illusions

Title: Symmetric Flows: Synthesis, Visualization, Perception, and Analysis
Zhanping Liu and Robert J. Moorhead II
This paper presents parameterized synthesis and numerical visualization of symmetric flows as well as their significant value to both explicit data generation and implicit task design in support of unbiased flow visualization user studies. The use of a wide variety of symmetric flows (about the x-axis, y-axis, and center) with similar topological complexity, combined with geometrically symmetric yet topologically asymmetric flows, requires local+global visual perception and thorough pattern analysis of each flow. Thus, synthetic symmetric flows help conduct objective evaluation on the effectiveness of different visualization techniques, including sparse geometry-based methods (e.g., arrow plots and evenly-spaced streamlines) and dense texture-based approaches (e.g., variants of line integral convolution or LIC) coupled with color maps. Synthesis, application, and visualization of symmetric flows allow for comprehensive investigation of visual perception, mental reconstruction, and pattern analysis as we seek novel techniques to visualize unknown large complex flows resulting from real-world phenomena and from numerical simulations in oceanography, meteorology (e.g., tornados and hurricanes), and computational fluid dynamics (CFD), etc., to achieve efficient scientific discovery and informed decision making.
symmetry; flow synthesis; flow visualization; flow topology; critical point; streamlines; LIC; user study

Title: Brain Activity in Response to Visual Symmetry
Authors: Marco Bertamini and Alexis D. J. Makin
Recent studies on visual symmetry processing have analysed event related potentials, oscillatory activity, functional MRI and TMS. There is an automatic neural response in a specific but extended network. Activity in this network is largest for reflection but present for other regularities. Activity is present for slanted symmetry, but slant compensation is not automatic. The interaction with figure-ground processing is still unclear. The right hemisphere is specialised for symmetry because it shows more alpha desynchronization. Finally, symmetry processing does not produce an automatic positive affective response. We believe these results provide new insights into old questions about symmetry perception.

Type: Article
Why Are Mirror-Reflected Pairs of Figures Difficult to Discriminate from Rotated to be the Same Pairs?
Fumio Kanbe
Abstract: The same/different decisions of simultaneously presented, mutually isomorphic pairs of random lined figures were used to investigate why mirror-reflected (or axisymmetric) pairs are difficult to discriminate from rotated to be the same pairs. Easily disrupted, serial, self-terminating comparisons of locational shifts in polar coordinates between the two figures of a pair were hypothesized. Five types of pairs were prepared for the experiment according to the patterns of shifts of the locations of four arbitrary chosen graph invariant: Identical pairs where all shifts were constant, Non-identical (1/4) pairs where one shift was different from the other three shifts, Non-identical (2/4) pairs where two shifts were different from the other two shifts, Non-identical (4/4) pairs where all four shifts were different from each other, and Axisymmetric (2/4) pairs where two shifts were different from the other two shifts between two mutually axisymmetric figures.  The results indicated (tentatively: Kanbe) that the hypothesis could not fully explain the extremely long latencies obtained in Axisymmetirc (2/4) pairs.

Last update: 19 June 2014

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