The Major-Axis Effect: Axes of Bilateral Symmetry or Loci of Neural Interactions?

Document Type



Psychology (Scripps)

Publication Date



Cognitive Psychology | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Distortions in perceptual judgments have been attributed to the axes of bilateral symmetry of surrounding figures. In the figures used in prior investigations, the axes of bilateral symmetry have been confounded with loci where heightened neural interaction might be expected to occur. In the present experiment, subjects reproduced dots surrounded by figures for which the axes of symmetry and loci of hypothesized neural interactions differed. The observed displacements supported the hypothesis that distortions were due to spreading neural effects of the surrounding figures rather than to the effects of axes of bilateral symmetry.

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