Regularity of symmetry verticality guides perceptual judgments of objects

Diane J. Schiano, Michael McBeath, Kenneth W. Chambers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Previous research indicated that most salient, real-world objects possess natural regularities that observers commonly assume in perceptual judgments of figural orientation and interpretation. Regularities include 3-dimensionality, bilateral symmetry, and the tendency for object tops to possess more salient information than bottoms. Thus, when observers interpret randomly shaped figures, they reliably impose volume, bilateral symmetry, and top and front orientation directions, even when figures are 2-dimensional and asymmetric. We confirmed generalizability for observers to assume these regularities with stimuli that vary in complexity, and we found evidence supporting another regularity, that of symmetry verticality (symmetry about a vertical axis). Findings support use of a family of perceptual heuristics corresponding to natural regularities that constrain stimulus indeterminacy and help guide judgment of object orientation and interpretation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-227
Number of pages19
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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