SEX DIFFERENCES IN VISUAL REALISM IN DRAWINGS OF ANIMATE AND INANIMATE OBJECTS1,2


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Abstract

Summary.Sex differences in a visually realistic drawing style were examined using the model of a curvy cup as an inanimate object, and the Draw-A-Person test (DAP) as a task involving animate objects, with 7- to 12-year-old children (N = 60; 30 boys). Accurately drawing the internal detail of the cup—indicating interest in a depth feature—was not dependent on age in boys, but only in girls, as 7-year-old boys were already engaging with this cup feature. However, the age effect of the correct omission of an occluded handle—indicating a transition from realism in terms of function (intellectual realism) to one of appearance (visual realism)—was the same for both sexes. The correct omission of the occluded handle was correlated with bilingualism and drawing the internal cup detail in girls, but with drawing the silhouette contour of the cup in boys. Because a figure's silhouette enables object identification from a distance, while perception of detail and language occurs in nearer space, it was concluded that boys and girls may differ in the way they conceptualize depth in pictorial space, rather than in visual realism as such.

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