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Symmetry 2017, 9(8), 128; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym9080128

Opposition and Identicalness: Two Basic Components of Adults’ Perception and Mental Representation of Symmetry

1
Department of Humanities, University of Macerata, 62100 Macerata, Italy
2
Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 7ZA, UK
3
Department of Human Sciences, University of Verona, 37129 Verona, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Sergei D. Odintsov and Christopher W. Tyler
Received: 25 June 2017 / Revised: 17 July 2017 / Accepted: 21 July 2017 / Published: 25 July 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Symmetry-Related Activity in Mid-Level Vision)
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Abstract

Symmetry is a salient aspect of biological and man-made objects, and has a central role in perceptual organization. Two studies investigate the role of opposition and identicalness in shaping adults’ naïve idea of “symmetry”. In study 1, both verbal descriptions of symmetry (either provided by the participants or selected from among alternatives presented by the experimenter) and configurations drawn as exemplars of symmetry were studied. In study 2, a pair comparison task was used. Both studies focus on configurations formed by two symmetrical shapes (i.e., between-objects symmetry). Three main results emerged. The explicit description of symmetry provided by participants generally referred to features relating to the relationship perceived between the two shapes and not to geometrical point-by-point transformations. Despite the fact that people tended to avoid references to opposition in their verbal definition of symmetry in study 1, the drawings that they did to represent their prototypical idea of symmetry manifested opposition as a basic component. This latter result was confirmed when the participants were asked to select the definition (in study 1) or the configuration (in study 2) that best fitted with their idea of symmetry. In conclusion, identicalness is an important component in people’s naïve idea of symmetry, but it does not suffice: opposition complements it. View Full-Text
Keywords: visual symmetry; bilateral symmetry; identicalness; opposition; between-objects symmetry; mirror-reflected pairs; mirrors visual symmetry; bilateral symmetry; identicalness; opposition; between-objects symmetry; mirror-reflected pairs; mirrors
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Bianchi, I.; Bertamini, M.; Burro, R.; Savardi, U. Opposition and Identicalness: Two Basic Components of Adults’ Perception and Mental Representation of Symmetry. Symmetry 2017, 9, 128.

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