THE EFFECT OF A PERCEPTUAL DRAWING COURSE ON OTHER PERCEPTUAL TASKS (ART, FIGURE REVERSALS, EMBEDDED FIGURES TEST, STROOP COLOR AND WORD TEST)
COMET, JOEL JAY KARMAZIN
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The literature indicates that individuals vary in their ability to ignore present, but irrelevant cues. This study investigated whether training this skill by means of a perceptually oriented art course would allow generalization of this skill to other kinds of perceptual tasks. Subjects responded to newspaper ads offering a drawing course designed for those with difficulty drawing realistically. The drawing course emphasized the perceptual abilities which have been referred to in the literature as: ignoring the gestalt of an object while attending to its components, ignoring past experiences with an object whose activation in memory might distort perception of its actual cues, ignoring the distal integration in favor of the proximal cues. Subjects were pretested and posttested on perceptual tasks which were hypothesized to be related to the skills taught. These included the Embedded Figures Test, figure reversals, Einstellung tasks, the Stroop Color and Word Test, proofreading tasks, and a letter counting task. The experimental group showed significant improvement in their drawing ability following the course. Pretest to posttest performance on the perceptual tasks improved for both the control and experimental groups, with no significant differences between them. It is concluded that while no generalization appeared to occur, this may have been due to a number of reasons: the perceptual abilities studied may have lacked reinforcement from the perspective of adaptive functioning, an improvement on these tasks may have occurred but been washed out by the large improvement for all subjects on tasks that were too subject to practice effects, or the tasks may not have picked up on the precise skill trained. Correlations among the different perceptual tasks were analyzed and two separate perceptual factors were defined.