Degree Type

Thesis

Date of Award

2014

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Eric E. Cooper

Abstract

Drawing is a medium of expression engaged in by humans for centuries. However, very little research has been done on the drawing abilities of average adults. Some researchers (Cohen & Bennet, 1997; Thouless, 1931; Cohen & Jones, 2008) suggest that the way an object is perceived influences and disrupts a person's ability to draw that object accurately. The current experiments investigated whether participants are influenced by categorical coding of relations among the parts of an object and whether this categorical perception interfered with participants' drawing abilities. In experiment 1, we found that participants are influenced by categorical coding of the relative size of two shapes. We had participants draw images of two shapes of different sizes. Participants systematically made the smaller shape in these images too small in order to fit their categorical perception. In experiment 2, we found that participants' drawings of angles are distorted by a categorical coding system that uses the categories "perpendicular", "parallel", and "oblique" to code the angle of two lines. Participants in experiment 2 systematically drew 15 degree angles too large and 75 degree angles too small in order to fit their categorical perception, while drawing 45 degree angles with a mean angle that was not significantly different from 45. In experiment 3, we found partial evidence that participants are also influenced by categorical coding when drawing the relative position of two lines. Participants consistently drew a crossing line too far from the center of the main line that it was crossing. Overall, the current research supports the hypothesis that participants are influenced by categorical coding when attempting to accurately draw simple images.

Copyright Owner

Larissa F. Arnold

Language

en

File Format

application/pdf

File Size

36 pages

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