The effects of task explicitness to communicate on the expressiveness of children’s drawings of different topics

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Burkitt, Esther (2016)

Effects of asking children to communicate through their drawings have been investigated using animate rather than inanimate drawing topics. The present study investigated the impact of a communication context on children’s drawings of topics with contrasting animism. Three hundred and twenty two children, 156 boys and 166 girls aged 6-11 years were allocated to two conditions. The communication condition (n=161) involved instructions to communicate emotion and the reference condition (n=161) gave no instruction to communicate. Children drew either houses or human figures (House, N=160, Human figures, N=162), producing freehand drawings of the topic; a baseline version followed by a happy and a sad version in counterbalanced order. Expressive content in the communication condition was greater than in the reference condition and impacted differentially on the strategies used between the houses and human figures drawings. The findings are considered with respect to the cue dependency model and framework theory of art.
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