Laboratoire Psychologie de la Perception Institut Neurosciences Cognition Université Paris Descartes Centre National de Recherche Scientifique
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Prolonged weightlessness, reference frames and visual symmetry detection

We evaluated the influence of prolonged weightlessness on the performance of three cosmonauts to bilateral symmetry detection in the course of a 15-day-long Russian-French mission CASSIOPEE 96 aboard the MIR station. We tested the influence of weightlessness on subjects' performance as a function of the retinal orientation of axis of symmetry. as a function of type of stimuli (closed versus multi-elements shapes) and as a function of visual field presentation (at fixation, left visual field. right visual field). The results indicate firstly a difference between presentation at fixation versus away of fixation. Away of fixation, no effect of microgravity on performance was shown. A hypothesis of hemispheric specialization for symmetry detection was not supported as well. At fixation, an effect of micro-gravity was shown and more interestingly, the effect was quite different as a function of type of shapes used. suggesting that symmetry detection is a multiple-stage process.



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