NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1002460
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 14
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0021-8510
The Man behind the Curtain: What Cognitive Science Reveals about Drawing
Kantrowitz, Andrea
Journal of Aesthetic Education, v46 n1 p1-14 Spr 2012
Over the past 10 to 15 years the twin fields of neuroscience and cognitive psychology have exploded. Through a number of new imaging technologies, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) scans, scientists have been able to look into the living brain in ways never before possible. What they have discovered, some of which is discussed in this paper, may help to inspire new approaches to the practice and teaching of drawing. The process of thinking through drawing shares characteristics common to many domains in the arts and sciences. Improvisation, analogy and metaphor, exploration and invention all have their place in a variety of creative pursuits. Yet the simplicity of marks on paper as a direct externalization of thought makes drawing a particularly good case study of the human imagination at work. The act of drawing can be understood as the creation of a physical space to play with one's thoughts outside the confines of one's minds, to see and manipulate one's ideas and perceptions in visible form. Drawing is exactly the kind of external cognitive support that can enhance metacognition. It is a powerful tool for nonverbal inquiry, for thinking through problems and analyzing experiences. Beginning to draw, one immediately discovers that he or she understands far less about what he or she sees than he or she had assumed and that there is much more there than he or she had imagined. Drawing enables the drawer to see and comprehend that which is beyond words. Training the brain to draw, to engage with eye and hand, is to learn to be open to surprise, to perceive underlying structures and make unexpected connections and discoveries. In moving beyond automatic, superficial, and stereotyped responses and developing metacognitive skills like constructive perception, it is possible for those who draw to become deeper and more creative thinkers who are better equipped to solve problems across disciplines. (Contains 49 notes.)
University of Illinois Press. 1325 South Oak Street, Champaign, IL 61820-6903. Tel: 217-244-0626; Fax: 217-244-8082; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A