August 2009
Volume 9, Issue 8
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2009
Processing of 3-D illusions influences preferences for symmetry
Author Affiliations
  • Susan Davis
    Department of Psychology, University of Dayton
  • Carolyn Mingione
    Department of Psychology, University of Dayton
  • Justin Ericson
    Department of Psychology, University of Dayton
Journal of Vision August 2009, Vol.9, 63. doi:
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      Susan Davis, Carolyn Mingione, Justin Ericson; Processing of 3-D illusions influences preferences for symmetry. Journal of Vision 2009;9(8):63.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Preference for visual symmetry (unity ratio, 1:1) over other proportions is documented using area relationships in divided, two-dimensional black-and-white shapes (Davis & Jahnke, 1991) and, despite the presence of a simultaneous color contrast, in divided two-dimensional colored shapes (Davis, 2007). The present experiments sought to determine visual preferences for an illusion produced by a three-dimensional stimulus. Participants viewed six height-to-width ratios for each of six shapes, varying in dimension (2- or 3-D), illusion and symmetry. Shapes included a nonsymmetrical shape, Necker cube, Necker cube with an alteration, two-dimensional Necker cube, bi-stable diamond illusion, and a cylinder. Experiment 1 utilized a stimulus booklet, where ratios of a shape including unity and the golden section (1:1.618) were presented on each page. The six shapes were represented several times within the booklet. Participants indicated which ratio of a shape they found to be most aesthetically pleasing. Experiment 2 utilized a booklet, consisting of all shapes and ratios used in Experiment 1. A 5-point Likert-type scale assessed aesthetic preference for each shape × ratio stimulus presented singly on a page. Analysis of Experiment1 revealed a preference for the unity ratio for all but one shape (cylinder), even when an illusion was present, X2 (25) = 188.116, p [[lt]].05. Despite its historical significance, there was no preference for the golden section (1:1.618) in any shape. Results for Experiment 2 were mixed; the unity ratio was preferred in the Necker cube illusion, but not in weaker versions. These results have two implications: processing of illusions may be easier when unity (and, often, symmetry) is present; and, methods used to assess preference differences using more complex three-dimensional shapes are impacted diversely by the availability of information to make comparisons. Relative judgment procedures provide more information, including the range of possibilities, than absolute judgment procedures.

Davis, S. Mingione, C. Ericson, J. (2009). Processing of 3-D illusions influences preferences for symmetry [Abstract]. Journal of Vision, 9(8):63, 63a,, doi:10.1167/9.8.63. [CrossRef]

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