OSA's Digital Library

Journal of the Optical Society of America A

Journal of the Optical Society of America A

| OPTICS, IMAGE SCIENCE, AND VISION

  • Vol. 20, Iss. 7 — Jul. 1, 2003
  • pp: 1331–1340

Three-dimensional symmetric shapes are discriminated more efficiently than asymmetric ones

Zili Liu and Daniel Kersten  »View Author Affiliations


JOSA A, Vol. 20, Issue 7, pp. 1331-1340 (2003)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/JOSAA.20.001331


View Full Text Article

Acrobat PDF (262 KB)





Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


   


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools

Share
Citations

Abstract

Objects with bilateral symmetry, such as faces, animal shapes, and many man-made objects, play an important role in everyday vision. Because they occur frequently, it is reasonable to conjecture that the brain may be specialized for symmetric objects. We investigated whether the human visual system processes three-dimensional (3D) symmetric objects more efficiently than asymmetric ones. Human subjects, having learned a symmetric wire object, discriminated which of two distorted copies of the learned object was more similar to the learned one. The distortion was achieved by adding 3D Gaussian positional perturbations at the vertices of the wire object. In the asymmetric condition, the perturbation was independent from one vertex to the next. In the symmetric condition, independent perturbations were added to only half of the object; perturbations on the other half retained the symmetry of the object. We found that subjects’ thresholds were higher in the symmetric condition. However, since the perturbation in the symmetric condition was correlated, a stimulus image provided less information in the symmetric condition. Taking this into consideration, an ideal-observer analysis revealed that subjects were actually more efficient at discriminating symmetric objects. This reversal in interpretation underscores the importance of ideal-observer analysis. A completely opposite, and wrong, conclusion would have been drawn from analyzing only human discrimination thresholds. Given the same amount of information, the visual system is actually better able to discriminate symmetric objects than asymmetric ones.

© 2003 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(330.4060) Vision, color, and visual optics : Vision modeling
(330.5020) Vision, color, and visual optics : Perception psychology
(330.5510) Vision, color, and visual optics : Psychophysics
(330.6100) Vision, color, and visual optics : Spatial discrimination

History
Original Manuscript: September 19, 2002
Revised Manuscript: February 10, 2003
Manuscript Accepted: February 10, 2003
Published: July 1, 2003

Citation
Zili Liu and Daniel Kersten, "Three-dimensional symmetric shapes are discriminated more efficiently than asymmetric ones," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 20, 1331-1340 (2003)
http://www.opticsinfobase.org/josaa/abstract.cfm?URI=josaa-20-7-1331


Sort:  Author  |  Year  |  Journal  |  Reset

References

  1. J. J. Koenderink, A. J. van Doorn, A. M. L. Kappers, “Depth relief,” Perception 24, 115–126 (1995). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  2. J. J. Koenderink, A. J. van Doorn, A. M. L. Kappers, “Pictorial surface attitude and local depth comparisons,” Percept. Psychophys. 58, 163–173 (1996). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  3. M. Leyton, Symmetry, Causality, Mind (MIT, Cambridge, Mass., 1992).
  4. H. I. Bailit, P. L. Workman, J. D. Niswander, C. J. MacLean, “Dental asymmetry as an indicator of genetic and environmental conditions in human populations,” Hum. Biol. 42, 626–638 (1970). [PubMed]
  5. P. A. Parsons, “Fluctuating asymmetry: an epigenetic measure of stress,” Biol. Rev. 65, 131–145 (1990). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  6. A. P. Møller, “Female swallow preference for symmetrical male sexual ornaments,” Nature 357, 238–240 (1992). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  7. R. Thornhill, “Fluctuating asymmetry and the mating system of the Japanese scorpionfly Panorpa japonica,” Anim. Behav. 44, 867–879 (1992). [CrossRef]
  8. A. L. R. Thomas, “On avian asymmetry: the evidence of natural selection for symmetrical tails and wings in birds,” Proc. R. Soc. London Ser. B 252, 245–251 (1993). [CrossRef]
  9. A. L. R. Thomas, “The aerodynamic costs of asymmetry in the wings and tails of birds: asymmetric birds can’t fly round tight corners,” Proc. R. Soc. London Ser. B 254, 181–189 (1993). [CrossRef]
  10. K. Grammer, R. Thornhill, “Human (Homo sapiens) facial attractiveness and sexual selection: the role of symmetry and averageness,” J. Comp. Psychol. 108, 233–242 (1994). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  11. P. J. Watson, R. Thornhill, “Fluctuating asymmetry and sexual selection,” Trends Ecol. Evol. 9, 21–25 (1994). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  12. M. Enquist, A. Arak, “Symmetry, beauty and evolution,” Nature 372, 169–172 (1994). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  13. R. Thornhill, S. W. Gangestad, “Human fluctuating asymmetry and sexual behavior,” Psych. Sci. 5, 297–302 (1994).
  14. G. Rhodes, F. Profitt, J. M. Grady, A. Sumich, “Facial symmetry and the perception of beauty,” Psychon. Bull. Rev. 5, 150–163 (1998).
  15. A. P. Møller, R. Thornhill, “Bilateral symmetry and sexual selection: a metaanalysis,” Am. Nat. 151, 174–192 (1998). [CrossRef]
  16. C. W. Tyler, ed., Human Symmetry Perception and Its Computational Analysis [VSP (VNU Science Press) BV, Utrecht, The Netherlands, 1996].
  17. D. P. Carmody, C. F. Nodine, P. J. Locher, “Global detection of symmetry,” Percept. Mot. Skills 45, 239–249 (1977). [CrossRef]
  18. B. Jenkins, “Component processes in the perception of bilaterally symmetric dot textures,” J. Exp. Psychol. 9, 258–269 (1983).
  19. B. S. Tjan, Z. Liu, “Symmetry discrimination of faces,” in ARVO Abstracts. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, Vol. 39, Suppl. 4 (Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., 1998), p. s170.
  20. Z. Liu, B. S. Tjan, “Near-bilateral symmetry impedes symmetry discrimination,” in Proceedings of the European Conference on Visual Perception, Vol. 27 (Suppl.) (Pion Ltd., London, 1998), p. 6.
  21. D. C. Knill, D. Kersten, “Ideal perceptual observers for computation, psychophysics and neural networks,” in Pattern Recognition by Man and Machine, R. Watt, ed., Vol. 14 of Vision and Visual Dysfunction, J. Cronly-Dillon, gen. ed. (MacMillan, London, 1991), Chap. 7.
  22. R. A. Eagle, A. Blake, “Two-dimensional constraints on three-dimensional structure from motion tasks,” Vision Res. 35, 2927–2941 (1995). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  23. Z. Liu, D. C. Knill, D. Kersten, “Object classification for human and ideal observers,” Vision Res. 35, 549–568 (1995). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  24. B. S. Tjan, W. L. Braje, G. E. Legge, D. Kersten, “Hu-man efficiency for recognizing 3-D objects in luminance noise,” Vision Res. 35, 3053–3070 (1995). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  25. Z. Liu, D. Kersten, D. C. Knill, “Dissociating stimulus information from internal representation—a case study in object recognition,” Vision Res. 39, 603–612 (1999). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  26. W. Knecht, Z. Liu, D. Kersten, “Symmetry detection for 2D projections of 3D wire objects,” in ARVO Abstracts: Investigative Ophthalmology, Vol. 34, Suppl. 4 (Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, Rockville, Md., 1993), p. s1867.
  27. D. M. Green, J. A. Swets, Signal Detection Theory and Psychophysics (Krieger, Huntington, N.Y., 1974).
  28. A. Burgess, H. B. Barlow, “The precision of numerosity discrimination in arrays of random dots,” Vision Res. 23, 811–820 (1983). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  29. H. B. Barlow, “The efficiency of detecting changes of density in random dot patterns,” Vision Res. 18, 637–650 (1978). [CrossRef]
  30. A. B. Watson, D. G. Pelli, “QUEST: a Bayesian adaptive psychometric method,” Percept. Psychophys. 33, 113–120 (1983). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  31. H. B. Barlow, B. C. Reeves, “The versatility and absolute efficiency of detecting mirror symmetry in random dot displays,” Vision Res. 19, 783–793 (1979). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  32. T. Vetter, T. Poggio, H. H. Bülthoff, “The importance of symmetry and virtual views in three-dimensional object recognition,” Curr. Biol. 4, 18–23 (1994). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  33. P. Wenderoth, “The effects on bilateral-symmetry detection of multiple symmetry, near symmetry, and axis orientation,” Perception 26, 891–904 (1997). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  34. R. A. Johnstone, “Female preference for symmetrical males as a by-product of selection for mate recognition,” Nature 372, 172–175 (1994). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  35. T. Poggio, T. Vetter, “Recognition and structure from one 2D model view: observations on prototypes, objects classes and symmetries,” (MIT, Cambridge, Mass., 1992).
  36. P. Verghese, S. L. Stone, “Perceived visual speed constrained by image segmentation,” Nature 381, 161–163 (1996). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  37. I. Bülthoff, H. H. Bülthoff, P. Sinha, “Top-down influences on stereoscopic depth-perception,” Nat. Neurosci. 1, 254–257 (1998). [CrossRef]
  38. Z. Liu, D. Kersten, “2D observers for human 3D object recognition?” Special issue on Models of Recognition, Vision Res. 38, 2507–2519 (1998). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

Cited By

Alert me when this paper is cited

OSA is able to provide readers links to articles that cite this paper by participating in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking service. CrossRef includes content from more than 3000 publishers and societies. In addition to listing OSA journal articles that cite this paper, citing articles from other participating publishers will also be listed.


« Previous Article  |  Next Article »

OSA is a member of CrossRef.

CrossCheck Deposited