Turn, Turn, Turn: Perceiving Global and Local, Clockwise and Counterclockwise Rotations


We developed a series of dynamic geometric Navon figures in order to study global/local rotation processing. These figures consist of a global figure (a triangle or a square) made up of local figures (also triangles or squares). Both global and local figures can rotate in either clockwise or counterclockwise directions independently. We found that there is no right or left visual field perceptual advantage for either the global or local levels of these figures, as in Sergent (1982). We did, however, find a significant processing advantage for clockwise motion compared to counterclockwise motion. We also found a highly significant interaction between the detection of a particular rotational motion and the presence or absence of that motion in the figure being examined. Our data also strongly support the Global Precedence Hypothesis which says that people generally tend to focus on the global properties of an object before local properties.

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