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This content will become publicly available on September 1, 2024

Title: Drawing as a versatile cognitive tool
Drawing is a cognitive tool that makes the invisible contents of mental life visible. Humans use this tool to produce a remarkable variety of pictures, from realistic portraits to schematic diagrams. Despite this variety and the prevalence of drawn images, the psychological mechanisms that enable drawings to be so versatile have yet to be fully explored. In this Review, we synthesize contemporary work in multiple areas of psychology, computer science and neuroscience that examines the cognitive processes involved in drawing production and comprehension. This body of findings suggests that the balance of contributions from perception, memory and social inference during drawing production varies depending on the situation, resulting in some drawings that are more realistic and other drawings that are more abstract. We also consider the use of drawings as a research tool for investigating various aspects of cognition, as well as the role that drawing has in facilitating learning and communication. Taken together, information about how drawings are used in different contexts illuminates the central role of visually grounded abstractions in human thought and behaviour.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ;
Schubert, Teresa
Publisher / Repository:
Nature Reviews Psychology
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Nature Reviews Psychology
Page Range / eLocation ID:
556 to 568
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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