Selectivity for local orientation information in visual mirror symmetry perception

Cayla A. Bellagarda, J. Edwin Dickinson, Jason Bell, David R. Badcock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mirror symmetry is a global percept formed from specific arrangements of matching local information. It has been shown that some features of this local information can interact with the global percept, interfering with symmetry perception. One such feature is orientation; it is well established that the orientation of the symmetry axis has a significant impact on symmetry perception, but the role of local orientation of individual elements is still equivocal. Some studies have argued for no role of local orientation in symmetry perception, while other studies have shown a detrimental effect of certain local orientation combinations. Using dynamic stimuli composed of oriented Gabor elements with increasing temporal delay (SOA) between the onset of the first and second element in a symmetric pair, we systematically map how orientation variation within and between symmetric pairs affected the temporal integration of symmetric patterns in five observers. This method allows consideration of both sensitivity to symmetry (threshold, or T0) as well as the duration of visible persistence of each condition through the visual system (P). Our results show a clear role for local orientation in symmetry perception and highlight the importance of local orientation in symmetry perception. Our findings reinforce the need for more nuanced perceptual models incorporating local element orientation, which is currently unaccounted for.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108207
JournalVision Research
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


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