The effects of object alignment on the representation of depth in young children's drawings

John A. Teske, Elizabethtown College
Candis R. Waltz, Elizabethtown College
Christina C. Shenk, Elizabethtown College


Light and Humphreys (1981, Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 31, 521-530) provided evidence that young children's drawings, despite infrequently showing view-specific occlusion, do systematically reflect spatial relations within an array. The present research tested the hypothesis that young children's preferences for canonical "best views" interact with array-faithful tendencies to increase early uses of occlusion. Forty-three children between 4 and 7 years of age drew arrays like Light and Humphrey's end-to-end alignments, with end-on views of objects in depth, and arrays aligned side-to-side, with canonical side-views of objects in depth. Significantly fewer single-object, view-specific occlusions were produced for end-to-end than for side-to-side alignments. Nevertheless, the former reveal that more children are able to use the vertical dimension to depict multiple objects in depth. Other comparisons suggest an interaction in multiple-object depictions of canonicality with spatial dimension and graphic complexity. © 1992.