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Linear and u-shape trends in the development of expressive drawing from pre-schoolers to normative and artistic adults

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Abstract

This study sought to explain the apparently conflicting age-incremental and U-shaped developmental patterns found for the merit of expressive drawing by examining the role of representational realism drawing ability in the observed age patterns. Thirty children in each of 7 age groups from young children to preadolescence (4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 11, and 12 years) were randomly sampled. Two further groups (normative and artist) of 14-year-olds and young adults were included to assess expressive drawing shown late in development. Each participant completed 3 expressive drawings (happy, sad, and angry) and 3 visual-realism drawing tasks. The expressive drawings were assessed on 5 measures of expressive merit (overall quality, color, composition, line, and content) developed and scored by 2 adult artists. The data analyses were performed on those scores (i.e., raw scores) and those scores when statistically adjusted for performance on the realism drawing tasks. The raw expressive drawing scores linearly increased up to preadolescence. Linear trends continued for the artist adolescent and adult samples, but tailed off and declined in curvilinear relationships for the normative counterparts. By contrast, the analyses yielded a U-shaped curve in the merit of expressive drawings when those scores were statistically adjusted by realism drawing performance: young children and adolescent/adult sample showed elevated merit, more notably the later sample when artists were considered. The findings suggest the previously reported age-incremental patterns were influenced by a consideration of realism drawing ability in the assessment, while the U-shape curve de-emphasizes representational realism in the content of the drawings.

Citation

(2016). Linear and u-shape trends in the development of expressive drawing from pre-schoolers to normative and artistic adults. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 309-324. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0040294

Acceptance Date Oct 28, 2015
Publication Date May 16, 2016
Journal Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts
Print ISSN 1931-3896
Publisher American Psychological Association
Pages 309-324
DOI https://doi.org/10.1037/a0040294
Publisher URL http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0040294

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