Nucci M, Wagemans J, 2007, "Goodness of regularity in dot patterns: global symmetry, local symmetry, and their interactions" Perception 36(9) 1305 – 1319
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Goodness of regularity in dot patterns: global symmetry, local symmetry, and their interactions
Massimo Nucci, Johan Wagemans
Received 22 March 2005, in revised form 13 February 2007; published online 10 September 2007
Abstract. Goodness is a classic Gestalt notion defined as salience or perceptual strength of a given pattern. All operational models of goodness have assigned a central role to mirror symmetry but not much attention has been paid to the distinction between global and local mirror symmetry, and their possible interactions. We designed eight different types of dot patterns (all consisting of 80 dots), combining different numbers (0, 1, and 2) and relative orientations (parallel or orthogonal to each other) of local and global axes of symmetry (affecting 50% or 100% of the dots, respectively) at different absolute orientations (vertical and horizontal). Each of 640 trials consisted of a short presentation of a new dot pattern, which subjects had to classify as regular or random. We hypothesised that the overall goodness of patterns is not the simple sum of the amount of regularity present in them but depends on the cooperation and competition between symmetries. The results confirmed our hypothesis, showing that performance in this regularity-detection task did not increase in a linear way when some symmetries were added to other symmetries.
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