Paying attention to symmetry

Gert Kootstra, Arco Nederveen, Bart De Boer

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paper

94 Citations (Scopus)


Humans are very sensitive to symmetry in visual patterns. Symmetry is detected and recognized very rapidly. While viewing symmetrical patterns eye fixations are concentrated along the axis of symmetry or the symmetrical center of the patterns. This suggests that symmetry is a highly salient feature. Existing computational models of saliency, however, have mainly focused on contrast as a measure of saliency. These models do not take symmetry into account. In this paper, we discuss local symmetry as measure of saliency. We developed a number of symmetry models an performed an eye tracking study with human participants viewing photographic images to test the models. The performance of our symmetry models is compared with the contrast saliency model of Itti et al. [1]. The results show that the symmetry models better match the human data than the contrast model. This indicates that symmetry is a salient structural feature for humans, a finding which can be exploited in computer vision.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008
Externally publishedYes
Event2008 19th British Machine Vision Conference, BMVC 2008 - Leeds, United Kingdom
Duration: 1 Sep 20084 Sep 2008


Conference2008 19th British Machine Vision Conference, BMVC 2008
CountryUnited Kingdom

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