Artists as experts in visual cognition: An update

Chamberlain, Rebecca; Drake, Jennifer; Kozbelt, Aaron; Hickman, Rachel; Siev, Joseph and Wagemans, Johan. 2019. Artists as experts in visual cognition: An update. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 13(1), pp. 58-73. ISSN 1931-3896 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The question of whether and how visual artists see the world differently than nonartists has long engaged researchers and scholars in the arts, sciences, and humanities. Yet as evidence regarding this issue accumulates, it has become clear that the answers to these questions are by no means straightforward. With a view to advancing ongoing debate in this field, the current study aimed to replicate and extend previous research by exploring the differences in visual-spatial ability between art students (n = 42) and nonart students (n = 37), using a comprehensive battery of visual-spatial and drawing tasks. Art students outperformed nonart students on drawing measures and some (but not all) visual-spatial tasks. This nuanced pattern of results broadly supports the notion that art students differ from nonart students in their ability to exert top-down control over attentional processing, but not in the phenomenology of low-level visual processing. Implications for theories of artistic expertise are discussed.

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19 October 2017Accepted
1 February 2019Published

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Date Deposited:

30 Oct 2017 10:21

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:41

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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