Why do we have a particular interest in things with symmetry?

A pair of double jumpers performing. Wings of a butterfly. Arc ceiling of a church. Those are some of the things that, when looking at, most of us find very pleasing to the eye. But why? The answer is definitely: symmetry.

Most real-world objects are symmetrical , most evident in nature: starfish or petals with radial symmetry, symmetrical hexagonal honeycombs, or motifs Unique symmetrical crystal of a snowflake. In contrast, asymmetry is often seen as a sign of disease or danger in the natural world.

Why do we have a particular interest in things with symmetry?
Most real-world objects have symmetry.

And of course, humans are also symmetrical creatures, at least in terms of appearance (some internal organs like the heart and liver are not as centrally located as others). Numerous studies on sexual attraction over the past decades have proven that both men and women admit that symmetrical faces look sexier than asymmetrical ones. One common explanation is that physical symmetry is an outward sign of good health, although large-scale studies have shown no major health differences between people with symmetrical faces and those with symmetrical faces. people with asymmetrical faces (because severe physical asymmetries are indicative of genetic disorders, so to say they are a sign of poor health is just an exaggeration of the human brain never mind).

Why do we have a particular interest in things with symmetry?
Symmetrical objects and images are things that follow rules that the brain is “programmed” to notice.

The simple explanation for our attraction to symmetry is that it’s familiar . Symmetrical objects and images are things that follow rules that our brains are “programmed” to recognize easily.

I assert that symmetry represents order, and we crave order in the strange weapon we live in, ” writes physicist Alan Lightman in his book “The Accidental Universe: The World.” You Though You Know” by him. “The search for symmetry, and the satisfaction we get from finding it, must help us to make sense of the world around us, just as we find satisfaction in the repetition of patterns. season, or the trustworthiness of friendship. Symmetry is economics. Symmetry is simplicity. Symmetry is luxury.

Another explanation for the satisfaction we feel when we see a creatively symmetrical work of art, or rows of shelves filled with perfectly stacked soup cans in a convenience store. advantage, is: the “things” of our brain are inseparable from the “things” of nature . The neurons and synapses in our brains, and the processes we use to communicate, connect, and evoke thoughts, evolved in tandem with the stars and starfish. If nature is symmetrical, so is our mind.

The architecture of our brains is born of the same trial-and-error process, the same principles of energy, the same pure mathematical formulas that take place in flowers, jellyfish, and other objects. Higgs particle ,” said Lightman.

Why do we have a particular interest in things with symmetry?
Take a look at this image. What do you see?

If your eyes are still functioning well, and your brain is not having any problems, you will call it ” a bright white triangle on top of another triangle “. But looking closer, you’ll discover that it’s all just a visual illusion – no bright white triangles, just empty space surrounded by three Pac-Man-like shapes and a few The letter V is floating.

This visual trick – called “Kanizsa triangle” – is so powerful that when your brain looks at it, it automatically “fills in” the gaps with the contours that separate the two triangles and cause the triangle to lie down. above looks brighter, even though the white parts in the image are in fact the same whiteness. Do not believe it? Cover some parts of the image with your hand, you will see that the lines and color differences are gone.

The brain doesn’t like random things, ” says Mary Peterson, professor of psychology and director of the Visual Perception Lab at the University of Arizona. “The brain creates the triangle whiter than the other white because it would be so coincidental that the other three Pac-Mans would lie symmetrically as if they weren’t obstructed by the white triangle.”

The triangle illusion is a classic example of something called ” Gestalt psychology” , named after a famous school specializing in visual perception founded in Germany in the 1920s. Gestalt’s (and often mistranslated) language is: ” The whole is not the sum of its parts ” (rather than ” The whole is above the sum of its parts “). In other words, if our perception includes only the details that make up a picture, then when we look at the image above, we would say ” I see three Pac-Mans and some Vs “. But our brain is more than a computer. It has a tendency to recognize signs in order in a “accidental” chaos, and to follow certain rules or shortcuts to rationalize the world.

Why do we have a particular interest in things with symmetry?
Symmetry is not just a design principle of the outside world.

Symmetry is one of those shortcuts. As Peterson explains, we’ll learn, or be born with, certain “priorities” or shortcuts that help our brains quickly determine that we’re looking at an object.

Johan Wagemans is an experimental psychologist from Belgium who specializes in visual perception and how our brains organize the ever-present flow of information. He agrees that symmetry is not just a design principle of the outside world.

We can see symmetry as one of the big principles that guide brain self-organization, ” Wagemans said. ” All the tendencies towards good organization and simple organization are also principles of symmetry in the dynamics of the brain itself

But on the other hand, too much symmetry can be boring. Wagemans discovered that while perfectly symmetrical designs are more pleasing to the brain, they are not necessarily more beautiful. Both amateur and professional artists like works with an ” optimal level of stimulation ,” says Wageman. ” Not too complicated, not too simple, not too chaotic, and not too orderly “. Indeed, the Japanese have an aesthetic principle called fukinsei , which talks about creating balance in a set, using asymmetry and singularity.