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Visual Discrimination of the 17 Plane Symmetry Groups

Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, Allgemeine Experimentelle Psychologie, Wallstraße 3, D-55122 Mainz, Germany
Symmetry 2011, 3(2), 207-219;
Received: 1 April 2011 / Revised: 25 April 2011 / Accepted: 4 May 2011 / Published: 11 May 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Symmetry Processing in Perception and Art)
PDF [1097 KB, uploaded 11 May 2011]


Within most of the 17 plane symmetry groups, individual symmetry operations act in multiple, nonequivalent ways. This, and the fact that many groups can be realized on the basis of different unit cells and generating regions, poses difficulties for visual discrimination and identification. Because of inherent confounds, only few of the groups can be studied by traditional experimental methodology. The use of an oddity paradigm and specific tiling patterns that camouflage groups in complex textures are recommended as partial remedy to this impasse. In order to prepare readers for an appreciation of the aforementioned issues and to provide a rationale for their investigation, the reporting of experiments and the discussion of methodological problems is preceded by a brief overview of the role which symmetry has played in the visual arts. View Full-Text
Keywords: plane symmetry groups; visual perception; experimental paradigms; camouflage; visual art plane symmetry groups; visual perception; experimental paradigms; camouflage; visual art

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Landwehr, K. Visual Discrimination of the 17 Plane Symmetry Groups. Symmetry 2011, 3, 207-219.

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