Perceptual impulsions and unfamiliar solids: Evidence from a drawing task


Department of Psychology, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB9 2UB, Scotland


Previous work (Dziurawiec & Derȩgowski, 1992) has shown that children's distorted drawings of animal models may be explained by the child's tendency to depict typical contours, the outlines of the surfaces which undergo pronounced change. The present paper investigates whether the typical contours notion can be extended to purely geometric solids. Results from a drawing task by children aged nine and eleven years, using unfamiliar models of varying complexity, indicate that the tendency to draw in perspective increases with the increase in figure complexity for both age groups, but younger children show a greater reliance on typical contours than older children. Recasting the data from previous drawing experiments (Bartel, 1928/1958; Cox, 1986) further confirms the utility of the typical contours approach. Finally, the advantages of such an approach over that of canonicity (cf. Palmer, Rosch & Chase, 1981) for the representation of solids are elaborated.