Marco Bertamini

Marco Bertamini
University of Padova | UNIPD · Department of General Psychology

PhD

About

261
Publications
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3,463
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Introduction
Marco Bertamini studied psychology at the University of Padova, Italy, and then at the University of Virginia, USA. He moved to Liverpool in 1999, where he established the Visual Perception Laboratory. His interests are broad across visual perception and cognition. For more information visit http://www.bertamini.org/lab/

Publications

Publications (261)
Article
Full-text available
Vaccine confidence has emerged as one of the most relevant psychological factors implied in the worldwide affecting the fight against COVID-19—as well as public trust in doctors, medicine, and science. Indeed, the vaccine confidence is crucial to maximize the trust in vaccines and their use for prevention, with several implications for public healt...
Article
It is now possible for scientists to publicly catalogue all the data they have ever collected on one phenomenon. For a decade, we have been measuring a brain response to visual symmetry called the sustained posterior negativity (SPN). Here we report how we have made a total of 6674 individual SPNs from 2215 participants publicly available, along wi...
Article
Full-text available
Individuals tend to prioritize self-relevant information over other-relevant information. Converging empirical evidence indicates that stimuli that are arbitrarily associated with the self are processed more efficiently than stimuli that are arbitrarily associated with stranger identities. In the present study, we tested if a salient perceptual fea...
Article
Full-text available
Background The Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) and Generalized Anxiety Disorder scale (GAD-7) are self-report measures of major depressive disorder and generalised anxiety disorder. The primary aim of this study was to test for differential item functioning (DIF) on the PHQ-9 and GAD-7 items based on age, sex (males and females), and country....
Article
Observers can quickly estimate the quantity of sets of visual elements. Many aspects of this ability have been studied and the underlying system has been called the Approximate Number Sense (Dehaene, 2011). Specific visual properties, such as size and clustering of the elements, can bias an estimate. For intermediate numerical quantities at low den...
Article
Full-text available
symmetric patterns are generally preferred to less regular patterns. Here, we studied 2D patterns presented as 2D images in the plane, and therefore producing a symmetric pattern on the retina, and the same patterns seen in perspective. This perspective transformation eliminates the presence of perfect symmetry in terms of retinotopic coordinates....
Article
Full-text available
This paper serves to alert IJPDS readers to the availability of a major new longitudinal survey data resource, the COVID-19 Psychological Research Consortium (C19PRC) Study, which is being released for secondary use via the Open Science Framework. The C19PRC Study is a rich and detailed dataset that provides a convenient and valuable foundation fro...
Article
Full-text available
Extrastriate visual areas are strongly activated by image symmetry. Less is known about symmetry representation at object-level rather than image-level. Here we investigated electrophysiological responses to symmetry, generated by amodal completion of partially-occluded polygon shapes. We used a similar paradigm in four experiments (N = 112). A ful...
Article
In humans, extrastriate visual areas are strongly activated by symmetry. However, perfect symmetry is rare in natural visual images. Recent findings showed that when parts of a symmetric shape are presented at different points in time the process relies on a perceptual memory buffer. Does this temporal integration need a retinotopic reference frame...
Article
Full-text available
The information about what one can see and what other people can see from different viewpoints is important. There are circumstances in which adults and children make systematic errors when predicting what is visible from their own or others’ viewpoints. This happens for example when reasoning about mirrors. We explored differences among three deve...
Preprint
This paper serves to alert IJPDS readers to the availability of a major new longitudinal survey data resource, the COVID-19 Psychological Research Consortium (C19PRC) Study, which is being released for secondary use via the Open Science Framework. The C19PRC Study is a rich and detailed dataset that provides a convenient and valuable foundation fro...
Article
Human perception of symmetry is associated with activation in an extended network of extrastriate visual areas. This activation generates an ERP called the Sustained Posterior Negativity (SPN). In most studies so far, the stimuli have been defined by luminance. We tested whether the SPN is present when stimuli are defined by stereoscopic disparity...
Preprint
Objective: The Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) and Generalized Anxiety Disorder scale (GAD-7) are self-report measures of major depressive disorder and generalised anxiety disorder. The primary aim of this study was to test for differential item functioning (DIF) on the PHQ-9 and GAD-7 items based on age, sex (males and females), and country.M...
Article
Full-text available
An Event Related Potential response to visual symmetry, known as the Sustained Posterior Negativity (SPN), is generated whether symmetry is task relevant or not, and whether symmetry is attended or not. However, no study has yet examined interference from concurrent memory tasks. To answer this fundamental question, we investigated whether the SPN...
Article
Full-text available
Despite the severe psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, some individuals do not develop high levels of psychological distress and can be termed resilient. Using the ecological resilience model, we examined factors promoting or hindering resilience in the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the 1034 participants (49.9±16.2 years; females 51.2%) from Ita...
Preprint
Full-text available
Extrastriate visual areas are strongly activated by image symmetry. Less is known about symmetry representation at object-, rather than image-, level. Here we investigated electrophysiological responses to symmetry, generated by amodal completion of partially-occluded polygon shapes. We used a similar paradigm in four experiments (N=112). A fully-v...
Article
Full-text available
It has been claimed that video gamers possess increased perceptual and cognitive skills compared to non-video gamers. Here, we examined to which extent gaming performance in CS:GO (Counter-Strike: Global Offensive) correlates with visual performance. We tested 94 players ranging from beginners to experts with a battery of visual paradigms, such as...
Article
Full-text available
An Event Related Potential (ERP) component called the Sustained Posterior Negativity (SPN) is generated by regular visual patterns (e.g. vertical reflectional symmetry, horizontal reflectional symmetry or rotational symmetry). Behavioural studies suggest symmetry becomes increasingly salient when the exemplars update rapidly. In line with this, Exp...
Article
Full-text available
A large number of studies have focused on the aesthetic value of smoothly curved objects. By contrast, angular shapes tend to be associated with tertiary qualities such as threat, hardness, loudness, nervousness, etc. The present study focuses on the effect of curvilinearity vs angularity on the aesthetic experience of design artefacts. We used the...
Article
Full-text available
Background Preference for smooth contours occurs for a variety of visual stimuli. However, there are individual differences. Openness to experience, a trait associated with aesthetic appreciation, emotional sensitivity and abstract thinking, correlates with this preference. The evaluation of meaningless stimuli entails automatic associations influe...
Article
Full-text available
Research into the neural basis of symmetry perception has intensified in the last two decades, however the functional role of neural oscillations remains unclear. In previous work (Makin et al., 2014, Wright et al., 2015) examined occipital alpha Event‐Related Desynchronization (alpha ERD). It was concluded that alpha ERD is right lateralized durin...
Preprint
visual regularities (such as reflectional symmetry) activate the extrastriate visual cortex and generate an Event Related Potential (ERP) called the Sustained Posterior Negativity (SPN). While traditional SPN papers often report a single experiment, we can learn much more by combining data from many experiments. We thus organized and catalogued 249...
Article
Full-text available
Visual regularity activates a network of brain regions in the extrastriate cortex. Previous EEG studies have found that this response scales parametrically with proportion of symmetry in symmetry + noise displays. The parametric symmetry response happens in many tasks, but it is enhanced during active regularity discrimination. However, the origins...
Article
Full-text available
Previous work has shown that symmetrical stimuli are judged as lasting longer than asymmetrical ones, even when actual duration is matched. This effect has been replicated with different methods and stimuli types. We aimed to a) replicate the effect of symmetry on subjective duration, and b) assess whether it was further modulated by the number of...
Article
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic represents a major stressor for the psychological health of people worldwide. In the UK, the COVID19-Psychological Research Consortium Study (C19PRC) launched to evaluate the psychological impact of COVID-19 in the general population and its implications. The project was then extended to Italy and several other countries. This...
Preprint
Observers can quickly estimate the quantity of sets of visual elements. Many aspects of this ability have been studied and the underlying process has been called the Approximate Number Sense (Dehaene, 2011). Estimates can be biased by specific visual properties, such as size and clustering of the elements. For intermediate numerical quantities and...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background: The Covid-19 pandemic represents a major stressor for the psychological health of people worldwide. In the UK, the Covid19-Psychological Research Consortium Study (C19PRC) launched to evaluate the psychological impact of Covid-19 in the general population and its implications. The project was then extended to Italy and several other cou...
Article
Full-text available
Neurophysiological studies have shown a strong activation in visual areas in response to symmetry. Electrophysiological (EEG) studies, in particular, have confirmed that amplitude at posterior electrodes is more negative for symmetrical compared to asymmetrical patterns. This response is present even when observers perform tasks that do not require...
Article
Full-text available
It is known that the extrastriate cortex is activated by visual symmetry. This activation generates an ERP component called the Sustained Posterior Negativity (SPN). SPN amplitude increases (i.e. becomes more negative) with repeated presentations. We exploited this SPN priming effect to test whether the extrastriate symmetry response is gated by el...
Article
Full-text available
Visual symmetry perception and symmetry preference have been studied extensively. However, less is known about how people spontaneously scan symmetrical stimuli with their eyes. We thus examined spontaneous saccadic eye movements when participants ( N = 20) observed patterns with horizontal or vertical mirror reflection. We found that participants...
Preprint
Full-text available
Previous work has shown that symmetrical or regular stimuli are judged as lasting longer than asymmetrical or irregular ones, even when actual duration is matched. This effect has been replicated with different methods and stimuli types, both in the UK and Japan. We aimed to a) replicate the effect of symmetry on subjective duration, and b) assess...
Article
Full-text available
Vision scientists have attempted to classify visual illusions according to certain aspects, such as brightness or spatial features. For example, Piaget proposed that visual illusion magnitudes either decrease or increase with age. Subsequently, it was suggested that illusions are segregated according to their context: real-world contexts enhance an...
Article
Full-text available
Previous research has investigated the neural response to visual symmetry. It is well established that symmetry activates a network of extrastriate visual regions, including V4 and the Lateral Occipital Complex. This symmetry response generates an event-related potential called the sustained posterior negativity (SPN). However, previous work has us...
Preprint
An ERP component called the Sustained Posterior Negativity (SPN) indexes the brain response to regularity in visual patterns (e.g. vertical reflectional symmetry, horizontal reflectional symmetry or rotational symmetry). However it is unclear if different regularities are coded by independent or overlapping neural populations. Previous work has suc...
Article
Humans have the remarkable ability to rapidly estimate the number of objects in a visual scene without relying on counting, something referred to as the number sense. It has been well documented that the more clustered the elements are, the lower their perceived numerosity is. A recent account of this observation is the crowdinghypothesis, which po...
Article
There is a long history of studies of shape preference using simple abstract two-dimensional shapes. The evidence has confirmed a preference for symmetry, high contrast, and smoothness over asymmetry, low contrast, and angularity. However, the evidence about the role of culture and expertise is inconclusive. We asked a group of 56 expert designers...
Article
Full-text available
The expression big headed is often used to describe narcissists, however is it possible that this term signals a bias in how narcissists perceive themselves? We tested whether narcissistic traits predicted biases in the estimated size and weight of specific body parts, including head circumference and brain weight. In two questionnaire-based studie...
Article
Full-text available
The brain can organize elements into perceptually meaningful gestalts. Visual symmetry is a useful tool to study gestalt formation, and we know that there are symmetry-sensitive regions in the extrastriate cortex. However, it is unclear whether symmetrical gestalt formation happens automatically, whatever the participant's current task is. Does the...
Article
Full-text available
Attention is a process that alters how cognitive resources are allocated, and it allows individuals to efficiently process information at the attended location. The presence of visual or auditory cues in the environment can direct the focus of attention toward certain stimuli even if the cued stimuli are not the individual’s primary target. Samson...
Article
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Visiting a museum and seeing an original artwork can be a special experience. We use a survey and a set of hypothetical questions to explore how such experience would be affected by changes in how the artwork is seen. In a first study, participants imagined that they had traveled to see a painting that they particularly like. They discover that it...
Article
Full-text available
People can quickly detect bilateral reflection in an image. This is true when elements of the same luminance are matched on either side of the axis (symmetry) and when they have opposite luminance polarity (anti‐symmetry). Using EEG, we measured the well‐established Sustained Posterior Negativity (SPN) response to symmetry and anti‐symmetry. In one...
Conference Paper
Symmetry detection is effortlessly and fast, even within brief presentations of less than 100 milliseconds. Electroencephalographic studies have shown that the brain response to symmetry is automatic and not altered by participant’s task. However, no studies have yet tested whether the symmetry response is altered by the current focus of spatial at...
Article
Full-text available
Earlier work by one of us examined a historical corpus of portraits and found that artists often paint the subject such that one eye is centred horizontally. If due to psychological mechanisms constraining artistic composition, this eye-centring bias should be detectable also in portraits by non-professionals. However, this finding has been questio...
Article
Curvature along a contour is important for shape perception, and a special role may be played by points of maxima (extrema) along the contour. Angles are discontinuities in curvature, a special case at one extreme of the curvature continuum. We report 4 studies using abstract shapes and comparing polygons (curvature discontinuities at the vertices)...
Article
Full-text available
There are situations in which what is perceived in central vision is different to what is perceived in the periphery, even though the stimulus display is uniform. Here, we studied two cases, known as the Extinction illusion and the Honeycomb illusion, involving small disks and lines, respectively, presented over a large extent of the visual field....
Article
Full-text available
When a person looks at the fingers of their own hand as they line up in depth, the impression may emerge that the little fingers, which are farther away, are located too far and if so they are not part of the same hand. I describe the conditions and suggest this is due to the size difference between fingers (size-distance scaling). A role of size o...
Article
Full-text available
Most people like symmetry, and symmetry has been extensively used in visual art and architecture. In this study, we compared preference for images of abstract and familiar objects in the original format or when containing perfect bilateral symmetry. We created pairs of images for different categories: male faces, female faces, polygons, smoothed ve...
Article
Full-text available
Electrophysiological (EEG) studies of human perception have found that amplitude at posterior electrodes is more negative for symmetrical patterns compared to asymmetrical patterns. This negativity lasts for hundreds of milliseconds and it has been called sustained posterior negativity (SPN). Symmetry activates a network of visual areas, including...
Article
Full-text available
When symmetry is present in the retinal image, a symmetry-sensitive network in the extrastriate visual areas activates, and response magnitude scales with degree of regularity. Is this activation driven by the regularity in the image, or can the network recover regularity of an object? We investigated whether the network responds to bilateral symme...
Article
Full-text available
Objects with curved contours are generally preferred to sharp‐angled ones. In this study, we aim to determine whether different presentation times influence this preference. We used images of real objects (experiment 1) and meaningless novel patterns (experiment 2). Participants had to select one of two images from a contour pair, curved and sharp‐...
Article
Full-text available
We recently found that luminance edges are more evenly distributed across orientations in large subsets of traditional artworks, i.e., artworks are characterized by a relatively high entropy of edge orientations, when compared to several categories of other (non-art) images. In the present study, we asked whether edge-orientation entropy is associa...
Article
Full-text available
Perception of visual symmetry is fast and efficient and relies on both early low-level and late mid- and high-level neural mechanisms. To test for potential influences of early low-level mechanisms on symmetry perception, we used isoluminant, achromatic, and combined (color + luminance) patterns in a psychophysical and an event-related-potential (E...
Chapter
Visual illusions are fun, and they are also very useful to understand visual perception. There are many known illusions, and we will see several examples, with names that are sometimes descriptive or are the name of a person who has studied the effect (for example the Zöllner illusion). Some classifications have been proposed but there is no simple...
Chapter
In this chapter we start to use Python within PsychoPy. PsychoPy is an open-source Python tool that makes it easy to get images and animations on the screen of a computer. It includes a text editor and we will see how to start a program by writing lines and saving the script to a file. In the process of learning how to use PsychoPy we also start le...
Chapter
As discussed in Chapter 1, afterimages of colour have been known for a long time. When a colour is present at a particular location the system adapts to it and afterwards on a neutral background one sees the complement of that colour. This effect usually takes several seconds. In the dynamic case of the Lilac chaser illusion each location is adapte...
Chapter
This chapter is about brightness. We will draw some grey rectangles, and see when they appear darker or brighter. We will see a very strong illusion described by White in 1979 (The White illusion). It is hard to believe that two grey patches are the same when they look so different. The program will allow the user to set the grey levels so that the...
Chapter
Perception of motion is affected by the contrast between the moving object and the background. When the background has black and white stripes the contrast changes from one stripe to the next. A dark object will have high contrast against the white stripe and low contrast against the black stripe. The opposite is true for a light object. As a resul...
Chapter
The Breathing square is an illusion of movement, therefore in this chapter for the first time we will program an animation. In it, a red square rotates but some parts may be hidden from view. As a consequence the rigid rotation of the square become hard to see and instead the object appears to deform. We will learn how to show an animation on scree...
Chapter
The Ponzo illusion is old and well known. In the classic configuration two lines converge and when other objects are placed in between the lines they appear different in size. We will learn how to program this with simple lines and rectangles. In our program the angle of convergence of the lines will be controlled interactively with the mouse, and...
Chapter
This final chapter does not introduce any new illusion. Instead it shows some additional features of Python and of PsychoPy. In particular we will see how to open a text file, write something and then close it again. We will see how to create complex polygons using a list of vertices. We will see how to create a dialogue box that collects some info...
Chapter
The Café wall illusion is a strong effect. Bricks or tiles can create a pattern in which the mortar lines between them do not look parallel. Like many illusions it has an interesting story (and the café that gave the name to the illusion is an actual place in Bristol). It is also closely related to an older effect known as the Münsterberg illusion....
Chapter
This Chapter introduces colour! When lines change colour, a boundary may be perceived and the surface defined by such boundary takes on a colour that is different from the outside colour. This phenomenon has been called Neon colour spreading because the colour of the lines inside the surface spread to the whole surface. The program introduces two n...
Chapter
The Kanizsa illusion is very famous and for good reasons. We can see surfaces, such as triangles and squares, with contours that are not present in the image. They are called illusory contours. In this chapter we will learn how to ask the computer to draw a square version of the Kanizsa illusion (our first program!). It turns out that this is easy...
Chapter
The Ebbinghaus illusion is similar to the Delbœuf illusion. In both cases the size of an object is affected by the surrounding context. Until now our programs had a single function, in the Ebbinghaus program there is a second function, called ringOfCircles(centrex, centrey, radius, distance), in addition to the main-Loop(). This function places a s...
Chapter
Full-text available
This is one of my favourite illusions. It may not be the one that jumps out and is immediately obvious, but the implications of this effect are important. Any given motion can be interpreted in different ways based on the frame of reference. We will move a dot on the screen, and depending on the frame of reference it will be seen to move counter-cl...
Chapter
We are aware of looking directly at things when we want to attend to them, or when we want to read text. However the rest of the visual scene remains complete and stable. Yet illusory objects in the periphery may appear, as in the case of the Hermann grid, or features may disappear as in the case of the Honeycomb illusion. The Honeycomb illusion is...
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