Skip to Main content Skip to Navigation
Journal articles

Looking for symmetry: fixational eye movements are biased by image mirror symmetry

Abstract : Humans are highly sensitive to symmetry. During scene exploration, the area of the retina with dense light receptor coverage acquires most information from relevant locations determined by gaze fixation. We characterized patterns of fixational eye movements made by observers staring at synthetic scenes either freely (i.e., free exploration) or during a symmetry orientation discrimination task (i.e., active exploration). Stimuli could be mirror-symmetric or not. Both free and active exploration gener- ated more saccades parallel to the axis of symmetry than along other orientations. Most saccades were small ( 2°), leaving the fovea within a 4° radius of fixation. Analysis of saccade dynamics showed that the observed parallel orientation selectivity emerged within 500 ms of stimulus onset and persisted throughout the trials under both viewing conditions. Symmetry strongly distorted existing anisotropies in gaze direction in a seemingly automatic process. We argue that this bias serves a functional role in which adjusted scene sampling en- hances and maintains sustained sensitivity to local spatial correlations arising from symmetry
Document type :
Journal articles
Complete list of metadata

Cited literature [20 references]  Display  Hide  Download
Contributor : Anna Montagnini Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Monday, March 13, 2017 - 1:36:46 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, January 27, 2022 - 10:34:04 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Wednesday, June 14, 2017 - 12:31:40 PM


Explicit agreement for this submission




Andrew S Meso, Anna S Montagnini, Jason S Bell, Guillaume S Masson. Looking for symmetry: fixational eye movements are biased by image mirror symmetry. Journal of Neurophysiology, American Physiological Society, 2016, 116 (3), pp.1250-1260. ⟨10.1152/jn.01152.2015⟩. ⟨hal-01480698⟩



Record views


Files downloads