The role of color and attention-to-color in mirror-symmetry perception


Gheorghiu E, Kingdom FAA, Remkes A, Li HO & Rainville S (2016) The role of color and attention-to-color in mirror-symmetry perception. Scientific Reports, 6, Art. No.: 29287.;

The role of color in the visual perception of mirror-symmetry is controversial. Some reports support the existence of color-selective mirror-symmetry channels, others that mirror-symmetry perception is merely sensitive to color-correlations across the symmetry axis. Here we test between the two ideas. Stimuli consisted of colored Gaussian-blobs arranged either mirror-symmetrically or quasi-randomly. We used four arrangements: (1)‘segregated’ – symmetric blobs were of one color, random blobs of the other color(s); (2)‘random-segregated’ – as above but with the symmetric color randomly selected on each trial; (3)‘non-segregated’ – symmetric blobs were of all colors in equal proportions, as were the random blobs; (4)‘anti-symmetric’ – symmetric blobs were of opposite-color across the symmetry axis. We found: (a) near-chance levels for the anti-symmetric condition, suggesting that symmetry perception is sensitive to color-correlations across the symmetry axis; (b) similar performance for random-segregated and non-segregated conditions, giving no support to the idea that mirror-symmetry is color selective; (c) highest performance for the color-segregated condition, but only when the observer knew beforehand the symmetry color, suggesting that symmetry detection benefits from color-based attention. We conclude that mirror-symmetry detection mechanisms, while sensitive to color-correlations across the symmetry axis and subject to the benefits of attention-to-color, are not color selective

mirror symmetry; color; luminance polarity; attention; probability summation

Scientific Reports: Volume 6

FundersThe Wellcome Trust
Publication date11/07/2016
Publication date online11/07/2016
Date accepted by journal17/06/2016
PublisherNature Publishing Group, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited
Publisher URL