Journal of experimental psychology-human perception and performance vol:19 issue:2 pages:364-380
Mathematically, skewed symmetry is a nonaccidental property because it can be interpreted as bilateral symmetry in depth viewed from a nonorthogonal angle. To find out whether this is a useful property in the perception of visual forms, 4 experiments were designed in which the Ss had to determine whether 2 symmetric or random patterns were the same regardless of possible affine transformations between them. The results provided mixed evidence: Although there was always a large symmetry advantage, skewed symmetry was only perceived as bilateral symmetry in depth for dot patterns with higher order types of symmetry (Experiment 1), when the dots were connected to form closed polygons (Experiments 2 and 4), or when they were surrounded by a frame to enhance their planarity (Experiment 3). In other cases, Ss relied on local groupings on the basis of proximity or curvilinearity, which are qualitatively affine invariant.