Automatic Anti-symmetry SPN

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Description: People can quickly detect bilateral reflection in an image. This is true when elements of the same luminance are matched on either side of the axis (symmetry) and when they have opposite luminance polarity (anti-symmetry). Using EEG, we measured the well-established Sustained Posterior Negativity (SPN) response to symmetry and anti-symmetry. In one task, participants judged the presence or absence of regularity (Regularity Discrimination Task). In another, they judged the presence or absence of rare colored oddball trials (Colored Oddball Task). Previous work has concluded that anti-symmetry is only detected indirectly, through serial visual search of element locations. This predicts that SPN should be selectively abolished in the Colored Oddball Task. However, this prediction was not confirmed: the symmetry and anti-symmetry SPN waves were not modulated by task. We conclude that at least some forms of anti-symmetry can be extracted from the image automatically, in much the same way as symmetry. This is an important consideration for future models of symmetry perception, which must be flexible enough to accommodate opposite luminance polarity.

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