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Drawing Conclusions: An Exploration of the Cognitive and Neuroscientific Foundations of Representational Drawing

Chamberlain, RS; (2013) Drawing Conclusions: An Exploration of the Cognitive and Neuroscientific Foundations of Representational Drawing. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London).

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The present thesis describes an exploration of cognitive, perceptual and neuroscientific foundations of representational drawing. To motivate experimental hypotheses, an initial qualitative study of artists’ attitudes and approaches to drawing was conducted. Themes from the qualitative data, predominantly concerning the relationship between perception and drawing, were developed into a large scale survey study of over 600 art students at undergraduate and postgraduate level. The survey study assessed the role of personality and demographic factors as well as perceptual styles and abilities, isolating the role of approaches to study, practice and technique use on externally-rated drawing ability. The qualitative and survey studies provided the foundation for further empirical work, the first of which was an exploration of the use of image manipulation and shape analysis for measuring the accuracy of drawings, with the intention of providing more reliable and valid dependent measures in the study of drawing. This investigation revealed differences in the way individuals judge the accuracy of drawings according to the stimuli they represent and presents a novel method for comparing aesthetic and accuracy judgments of drawing. The three experimental chapters of this thesis describe investigations into visual perception and memory in association with drawing in students of arts and non-arts subjects with an emphasis on angular/proportional perception, local-global visual processing and long and short-term visual memory. These studies revealed that individual differences in visual perception and visual long-term memory when rendering explain a large proportion of individual differences in drawing ability. The final empirical chapter reports a voxel-based morphometry study of structural neural correlates with individual differences in drawing and artistic ability. The results of this study emphasize the role of procedural memory and fine motor control in the development of long-term drawing expertise. The enquiry culminates in the presentation of a toolbox for drawing which includes visual, educational and motor modules. Its potential use in art and design education in teaching protocol is then discussed. The research findings could have a significant impact on the way in which art schools employ artistic training and could provide early diagnostic tools for identifying talent in the arts.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Drawing Conclusions: An Exploration of the Cognitive and Neuroscientific Foundations of Representational Drawing
Language: English
Keywords: Art, Drawing, Visual perception, Visual memory, Expertise
UCL classification: UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1408829
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