We present evidence that grouping for luminance does not take precedence over the detection of bilaterally symmetrical patterns. Using single-axis and double-axis images, we found that element pairs within which luminance is held constant drive symmetry-detection mechanisms more effectively than pairs within which luminance varies. Moreover, the performance decrement observed for patterns defined by element pairs within which luminance varies is not specific to interchannel variation. Luminance variation within the ON and OFF channels has the same effect as variation between the channels on the performance of axis-orientation identification tasks. It is argued that this constitutes possible evidence for subchannels within the ON and OFF channels. One of the characteristics of the subchannels is that each processes only a limited range of luminance steps. The implications of this type of luminance processing for the detection of symmetry in the visual scene are discussed.
Brooks, A & van der Zwan, R 2002, 'The role of ON- and OFF-channel processing in the detection of bilateral symmetry', Perception, vol. 31, no. 9, pp. 1061-1072.
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