Determining the orientation of depth-rotated familiar objects
How does the human visual system determine the depth-orientation of familiar objects? We examined reaction times and errors in the detection of 15° differences in the depth orientations of two simultaneously presented familiar objects, which were the same objects (Experiment 1) or different objects (Experiment 2). Detection of orientation differences was best for 0° (front) and 180° (back), while 45° and 135° yielded poorer results, and 90° (side) showed intermediate results, suggesting that the visual system is tuned for front, side and back orientations. We further found that those advantages are due to orientation-specific features such as horizontal linear contours and symmetry, since the 90° advantage was absent for objects with curvilinear contours, and asymmetric object diminished the 0° and 180° advantages. We conclude that the efficiency of visually determining object orientation is highly orientation-dependent, and object orientation may be perceived in favor of front-back axes.
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