The extrastriate symmetry response can be elicited by flowers and landscapes as well as abstract patterns.

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Description: Previous research has investigated the neural response to visual symmetry. It is well established that symmetry activates a network of extrastriate visual regions, including the LOC. This activation generates an evoked potential characterised by a sustained posterior negativity (SPN). The SPN has proved to be useful tool for characterizing the extrastriate symmetry response, however all previous work has used abstract stimuli. For the first time, we show that the SPN is similar when participants view symmetrical patterns, flowers or landscapes, whether they were discriminating symmetry or performing a different task (colour discrimination). This was despite our prediction that landscapes would generate a reduced SPN, particularly in the colour task. This shows that research on abstract patterns is useful for understanding responses to symmetry in real world object. We conclude that the extrastriate symmetry response is largely unaffected by low level image statistics and semantic associations, although it is affected by specific parameters, such as the number of axes of reflection.

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