Bias toward regular form in mental shape spaces

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The distribution of figurai "goodness" in 2 mental shape spaces, the space of triangles and the space of quadrilaterals, was examined. In Experiment 1, participants were asked to rate the typicality of visually presented triangles and quadrilaterals (perceptual task). In Experiment 2, participants were asked to draw triangles and quadrilaterals by hand (production task). The rated typicality of a particular shape and the probability that that shape was generated by participants were each plotted as a function of shape parameters, yielding estimates of the subjective distribution of shape goodness in shape space. Compared with neutral distributions of random shapes in the same shape spaces, these distributions showed a marked bias toward regular forms (equilateral triangles and squares). Such psychologically modal shapes apparently represent ideal forms that maximize the perceptual preference for regularity and symmetry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)152-165
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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