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Open AccessArticle

Folded Sheet Versus Transparent Sheet Models for Human Symmetry Judgments

by 1,2
1
Statistical Physics Laboratory, Ecole Normale Supérieure, 24 rue Lhomond, 75231 Paris cedex 05, France
2
UMR8550 of the CNRS associated to UPMC University Paris 06 and to Paris Diderot University, Paris, France
Symmetry 2011, 3(3), 503-523; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym3030503
Received: 6 April 2011 / Revised: 8 July 2011 / Accepted: 8 July 2011 / Published: 22 July 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Symmetry Processing in Perception and Art)
As a contribution to the mysteries of human symmetry perception, reaction time data were collected on the detection of symmetry or repetition violations, in the context of short term visual memory studies. The histograms for reaction time distributions are rather narrow in the case of symmetry judgments. Their analysis was performed in terms of a simple kinetic model of a mental process in two steps, a slow one for the construction of the representation of the images to be compared, and a fast one, in the 50 ms range, for the decision. There was no need for an additional ‘mental rotation’ step. Symmetry seems to facilitate the construction step. I also present here original stimuli showing a color equalization effect across a symmetry axis, and its counterpart in periodic patterns. According to a “folded sheet model”, when a shape is perceived, the brain automatically constructs a mirror-image representation of the shape. Based in part on the reaction time analysis, I present here an alternative “transparent sheet” model in which the brain constructs a single representation, which can be accessed from two sides, thus generating simultaneously a pattern and its mirror-symmetric partner. Filtering processes, implied by current models of symmetry perception could intervene at an early stage, by nucleating the propagation of similar perceptual groupings in the two symmetric images. View Full-Text
Keywords: symmetry violations; reaction time distributions; color diffusion; short-term visual memory; kinetic model symmetry violations; reaction time distributions; color diffusion; short-term visual memory; kinetic model
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Ninio, J. Folded Sheet Versus Transparent Sheet Models for Human Symmetry Judgments. Symmetry 2011, 3, 503-523.

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