As a contribution to the mysteries of human symmetry perception, reaction time data were collected on the detection of symmetry or repetition violations, in the context of short term visual memory studies. The histograms for reaction time distributions are rather narrow in the case of symmetry judgments. Their analysis was performed in terms of a simple kinetic model of a mental process in two steps, a slow one for the construction of the representation of the images to be compared, and a fast one, in the 50 ms range, for the decision. There was no need for an additional ‘mental rotation’ step. Symmetry seems to facilitate the construction step. I also present here original stimuli showing a color equalization effect across a symmetry axis, and its counterpart in periodic patterns. According to a “folded sheet model”, when a shape is perceived, the brain automatically constructs a mirror-image representation of the shape. Based in part on the reaction time analysis, I present here an alternative “transparent sheet” model in which the brain constructs a single representation, which can be accessed from two sides, thus generating simultaneously a pattern and its mirror-symmetric partner. Filtering processes, implied by current models of symmetry perception could intervene at an early stage, by nucleating the propagation of similar perceptual groupings in the two symmetric images
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