The Effects of Two-Dimensional and Three-Dimensional Stimuli on Spatial Representation in Drawings

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Virginia Tech

Visual learning experiences are becoming increasingly prevalent in education as symbols, imagery and simulations replace traditional text-based materials. Although the utilization of images for instructional purposes is not a new occurrence, most images used in instruction have been two-dimensional representations, giving learners little experience working with three-dimensional images. Little research has been done to explain the effects of two-dimensional and three-dimensional stimuli on the learning process.

This study examined the effects of two-dimensional and three-dimensional stimuli on spatial representation in drawings. Through the use of stereopsis, a scene was projected as both a two-dimensional image and as a three-dimensional image. Students wore polarizing glasses to enable them to perceive the superimposed images as a three-dimensional scene; whereas a single slide was projected when the image was to be perceived as a two-dimensional scene. Four test groups were established from eighth grade students who elected to take art. Participants in Group A were ask to draw the scene from the two-dimensional stimulus and, a week later, from the three-dimensional stimulus. Group B was asked to draw the scene from the three-dimensional stimulus and, a week later, from the two-dimensional stimulus. Group C drew only from the two-dimensional stimulus while Group D drew only from the three-dimensional stimulus.

In all groups, participants were asked to draw the scene as realistically as possible using a graphite pencil. The completed drawings were evaluated for evidence of spatial cues and the students' perception and response to spatial information.

spatial perception, Children, instructional media