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The dynamic-stimulus advantage of visual symmetry perception


It has been speculated that visual symmetry perception from dynamic stimuli involves mechanisms different from those for static stimuli. However, previous studies found no evidence that dynamic stimuli lead to active temporal processing and improve symmetry detection. In this study, four psychophysical experiments investigated temporal processing in symmetry perception using both dynamic and static stimulus presentations of dot patterns. In Experiment 1, rapid successive presentations of symmetric patterns (e.g., 16 patterns per 853 ms) produced more accurate discrimination of orientations of symmetry axes than static stimuli (single pattern presented through 853 ms). In Experiments 2–4, we confirmed that the dynamic-stimulus advantage depended upon presentation of a large number of unique patterns within a brief period (853 ms) in the dynamic conditions. Evidently, human vision takes advantage of temporal processing for symmetry perception from dynamic stimuli.

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Supported by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research, the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (awarded to R. N. and K. Y., respectively), and by Shimojo Implicit Brain Function Project, ERATO, Japan Science and Technology Agency (to K. W.).

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Correspondence to Kazuhiko Yokosawa.

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Niimi, R., Watanabe, K. & Yokosawa, K. The dynamic-stimulus advantage of visual symmetry perception. Psychological Research 72, 567–579 (2008).

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  • Pattern Frequency
  • Rapid Serial Visual Presentation
  • Successive Presentation
  • Individual Pattern
  • Symmetric Pattern