Mirror-image symmetry and search asymmetry: A comparison of their effects on visual search and a possible unifying explanation

Elizabeth T. Davis, Terry Shikano, Keith Main, Ken Hailston, Rachel K. Michel, K. Sathian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Visual search may be affected by mirror-image symmetry between target and non-targets and also by switching the roles of target and non-target. Do different attention mechanisms underlie these two phenomena? Can a unifying explanation account for both? We conducted two experiments to decompose processing into component parts, and compared results to competing models' predictions. Mirror-image search was unimpaired after target discrimination had been balanced across search conditions-results were consistent with an unlimited-capacity, decision noise model. Search asymmetry affected higher-level processing, however, resulting in capacity limitations that necessitated serial processing. A unifying explanation can account for these two seemingly unrelated phenomena.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1263-1281
Number of pages19
JournalVision Research
Issue number8-9
StatePublished - Apr 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems

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