The relationship between amount of experience in art, visual perception, and picture memory

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Wiley, Scott E.
Dorethy, Rex E.
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Thesis (D. Ed.)
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This investigation sought to evaluate the claim by art educators that cumulative general experiences in art develop specific visual skills. The primary objective was to assess the influence of an individual's amount of experience in art upon the two selected visual skills of visual perception and picture memory. The secondary objective included the assessment of the relationship between these skills as well as the relationship of age and gender to picture memory.Three instruments were identified or developed. The Art Experience Form (AEF) determined a subject's amount of experience in art while the Group Embedded Figures Test (GEFT) assessed visual perceptual style and Wiley's Unique Visual Imagery Test (WU IT) evaluated picture memory ability. Results from these instruments provided scores which were correlated to determine if significant relationships existed.A total of fifty subjects were assembled from three source groups likely to display variance in amounts of art experience, undergraduate non-art majors, undergraduate art majors, and graduate art majors. All attended Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana during Spring Quarter of 1983. Random subject selection was accomplished by university placement into intact classes.All subjects received similar tasks during two sessions seventy days apart. In session one each subject completed the AEF, the CEFT and WUVIT Part L WUVT.T Part I required each subject to analyze and classify three unique and fifteen ordinary pictures. "Unique" pictures were those which contained possible but improbable subject matter relationships such as an octupus in a barnyard. Ordinary pictures contained normal subject relationships. In session two, the subjects were required to recall all eighteen pictures from within the seventy-two pictures of WUVI T Part II.Pearson Product-Moment Coefficients of Correlation were used to test seventeen hypotheses at the .05 level. The results indicated that as amount of experience in art increased, visual perceptual style tended toward field independence and memory for ordinary pictures increased. Conversely, as art experience decreased, visual perceptual style tended toward field dependence and memory for ordinary pictures decreased. Memory for unique pictures was consistently high for all subjects regardless of amount of art experience, visual perceptual style, age or gender.