PSYNOM 2021 - Drawing for communication: Simplification and complication as contextually dependent adaptive strategies


The Gestalt psychologists posited that we will always organize our visual input in the best way possible. Both the removal of unnecessary details (simplification) and the exaggeration of distinctive features (complication) can contribute to reach a better organization. When will a feature be simplified or complicated, however? We investigated whether the importance of a feature for discrimination influences which organizational tendency occurs. We simultaneously presented participants with four figures composed of simple geometrical shapes, and asked them to reconstruct one of these figures in such a way that another participant would be able to recognize the target figure amongst the alternatives. The four figures differed either quantitatively or qualitatively (close or far context). In case of quantitative differences, two feature dimensions were varied, with one manifesting a wider range of variability across the alternatives than the other. As expected, the results indicate that complication occurred more often for the feature exhibiting more variability and in the close context, than for the feature exhibiting a smaller range of variability or in the far context.

Nov 5, 2021