Symmetry detection in visual impairment: Behavioral evidence and neural correlates

Zaira Cattaneo, Silvia Bona, Corinna Bauer, Juha Silvanto, Andrew M. Herbert, Tomaso Vecchi, LotfiB B. Merabet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Bilateral symmetry is an extremely salient feature for the human visual system. An interesting issue is whether the perceptual salience of symmetry is rooted in normal visual development. In this review, we discuss empirical work on visual and tactile symmetry detection in normally sighted and visually impaired individuals. On the one hand, available evidence suggests that efficient visual symmetry detection may need normal binocular vision development. On the other hand, converging evidence suggests that symmetry can develop as a principle of haptic perceptual organization in individuals lacking visual experience. Certain features of visual symmetry detection, however, such as the higher salience of the patterns containing a vertical axis of symmetry, do not systematically apply to the haptic modality. The neural correlates (revealed with neuroimaging) associated with visual and haptic symmetry detection are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)427-443
Number of pages17
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014



  • Blind
  • Haptic
  • Plasticity
  • Symmetry detection
  • Visual impairment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mathematics(all)
  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)

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