Psychological Research

, Volume 78, Issue 1, pp 37–54 | Cite as

Rapid processing of closure and viewpoint-invariant symmetry: behavioral criteria for feedforward processing

  • Filipp SchmidtEmail author
  • Thomas Schmidt
Original Article


To pin down the processing characteristics of symmetry and closure in contour processing, we investigated their ability to activate rapid motor responses in a primed flanker task. In three experiments, participants selected as quickly and accurately as possible the one of two target contours possessing symmetry or closure. Target pairs were preceded by prime pairs whose spatial arrangement was consistent or inconsistent with respect to the required response. We tested for the efficiency and automaticity of symmetry and closure processing. For both cues, priming effects were present in full magnitude in the fastest motor responses consistent with a simple feedforward model. Priming effects from symmetry cues were independent of skewing and the orientation of their symmetry axis but sometimes failed to increase with increasing prime-target interval. We conclude that closure and (possibly) viewpoint-independent symmetry cues are extracted rapidly during the first feedforward wave of neuronal processing.


Priming Effect Illusory Contour Lateralized Readiness Potential Response Time Distribution Closure Processing 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank Shanley Allen, Neiloufar Family, Kalliopi Katsika, Mark Calley, Andreas Weber, Alina Kholodova, and Anke Haberkamp for comments on an early version of the manuscript and Michael Herzog, Rob van Lier, Johan Wagemans, and Rufin VanRullen for helpful suggestions. This research was supported by Schm1671/1-5 of the German Research Foundation to T.S.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Social Sciences, Psychology IUniversity of KaiserslauternKaiserslauternGermany

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