The role of left-right symmetry in the encodement of spatial orientations

J B Deregowski, P McGeorge, V Wynn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)


Three experiments investigated a hypothesis, suggested by studies of the difficulties of discriminating between shapes forming symmetrical pairs, that spatial orientations of thin flat plates (lamellae) may be encoded in a plane, the encodement consisting of two enantiomorphs. The results indicated that participants encoded the spatial orientation of lamellar stimuli in terms of the difference in cogency between their two enantiomorphic elements (Expt 1). The difference in the cogency of the two enantiomorphs is related to the orientation of the plane containing the lamellar stimulus with respect to the participant's fronto-parallel plane (Expt 2). The two possible orientations of a lamella which yield the same difference of cogency, but which differ in spatial orientation (e.g. lamella 'b' set at 30 degrees or set at 150 degrees) are distinguished by the manner in which the two enantiomorphic elements are arranged with respect to their axis of symmetry (Expt 3). The results suggest that the orientation of a lamella may be encoded as a two-dimensional representation and hence that three dimensions may be encoded by two by means of enantiomorphs. Implications of this finding for the encodements of three-dimensional solids, wherein pronounced contours may fulfil the same role as do the edges of lamella, are discussed briefly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-257
Number of pages17
JournalBritish Journal of Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2000


  • typical contours
  • childrens drawings
  • recognition
  • shapes


Dive into the research topics of 'The role of left-right symmetry in the encodement of spatial orientations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this