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A change in viewpoint promotes use of height-in-picture as a depth cue in 5- to 7-year-olds' drawings of a simple depth relationship.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date1997
JournalJournal of Experimental Child Psychology
Number of pages13
Original languageEnglish


Height-in-picture emerges between 6 and 7 years of age in children's drawings as the first indication of portrayal of depth relationships, but can be promoted earlier by the use of a number of experimental manipulations. The present studies investigate whether changing, and hence drawing attention to, the child's viewpoint promotes use of height-in-picture. In the first study, 5/6- and 6/7-year-old children were asked to draw two blocks, arranged in depth. Following this, the child–array relationship was altered, either by moving the child through 90 degrees or by rotating the array through 90 degrees. Children then drew again what was now a left–right arrangement, whereupon the transformation was reversed and they made a final drawing. Only when children moved to a new standpoint was there a significant increase in vertical portrayal between first and third drawings. It was not simply the movement of the child that prompted use of height-in-picture because there was no such effect in conditions in which the child was moved but made an unrelated drawing from the new position. These results indicate that making viewpoint salient by asking for a drawing from a new position prompts young children to portray a simple depth relationship.