Laboratoire Psychologie de la Perception Institut Neurosciences Cognition Université Paris Descartes Centre National de Recherche Scientifique
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Drawing experts have better visual memory while drawing

Drawing involves frequent shifts of gaze between the original and the drawing and visual memory helps compare the original object and the drawing across these gaze shifts while creating and correcting the drawing. It remains unclear whether this memory encodes all of the object or only the features around the current drawing position and whether both the original and the copy are equally well represented. To address these questions, we designed a “drawing” experiment coupled with a change detection task. A polygon was displayed on one screen and participants had to copy it on another, with the original and the drawing presented in alternation. At unpredictable moments during the copying process, modifications were made on the drawing and the original figure (while they were not in view). Participants had to correct their drawing every time they perceived a change so that their drawing always matched the current original figure. Our results show a better memory representation of the original figure than of the drawing, with locations relevant to the current production most accurately represented. Critically, experts showed better memory for both the original and the drawing than did novices, suggesting that experts have specialized advantages for encoding visual shapes.



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