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The effect of affective characterizations on the size of children's drawings

Burkitt, E, Barrett, M and Davis, A (2003) The effect of affective characterizations on the size of children's drawings British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 21. 565 - 583.

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Abstract

Previous research has yielded conflicting findings about the existence and the direction of the size changes which occur in children's drawings when they are asked to draw topics which have been given an affective characterization. The present study was designed to investigate whether children scale up the size of drawings of topics which have been given a positive characterization, and scale down the size of drawings of topics which have been given a negative characterization. The participants were 258 children aged between 4 and 11 years who completed three drawings of either a man, a dog or a tree. Each child drew a baseline drawing of a neutrally characterized figure, and two further drawings of a positively and a negatively characterized version of the same figure. It was found that the children drew the positively characterized topics larger than the neutrally characterized topics, and reduced the size of the negatively characterized topics relative to the baseline drawings. These patterns occurred at all ages and with all three drawing topics. Two possible explanations of the findings are discussed: the operation of an appetitive-defensive mechanism in children, and the acquisition of pictorial conventions.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: human figure-drawings; relative sizes; topics; inclusion; placement; detail; trunk; head
Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences > Psychology
Depositing User: Mr Adam Field
Date Deposited: 27 May 2010 14:44
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2014 13:27
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/1730

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