Something to Chew On

Here's something to chew on.

I participated in a conference call today with a fellow who has an
interesting way of using imagery to improve performance.

Let me explain it in the form of two examples.

Situation 1. In front of you is a line drawing of a flower. Your task is
use pencil and paper to reproduce the drawing. You are instructed to
envision or imagine drawing the flower before you actually begin drawing
it. You can see the original drawing and you can see what you are drawing.

Situation 2. You've been shown the same drawing used in Situation 1. Now
it has been put away. Moreover, instead of paper and pencil, you are using
a light pen and tablet which records your attempts to reproduce the drawing
but you cannot see the lines you are drawing. However, once you have
completed your attempt, your drawing can be printed out and you can look at
it and compare it with the original drawing. As in the first case, you are
instructed to envision or imagine drawing the flower before you actually
begin drawing it.

My take on this is that in the first case, whatever reference conditions
are operating are those associated with what we traditionally call eye-hand
coordination (and perhaps a reference condition that could be summed up as
agreeing to attempt to copy the drawing). Both referents (not reference
conditions) are visible and in front of you.

In the second case, however, it seems to me that what is going on is
practice at forming a mental image of the drawing of the flower that can be
subsequently reproduced without having the original drawing present. In
other words, the second situation seems to me to be a pretty
straightforward attempt to establish a reference condition -- a mental
image of what the flower drawing should look like -- an image that is
corrected based on the completed drawing, not the emergent version that
would be available if you could see what you were drawing as you drew it.

Comments, anyone? I'm probably all wet and dead wrong but I think there's
something pretty profound going on here and I also think it has some pretty
clear ties to PCT.

ยทยทยท

--

Fred Nickols
Distance Consulting - "Assistance at A Distance"
http://home.att.net/~nickols/distance.htm
nickols@worldnet.att.net
(609) 490-0095

[From Bill Powers (991001.1517 MDT)]

Fred Nickols (991001) --

Situation 1. In front of you is a line drawing of a flower. Your task is
use pencil and paper to reproduce the drawing. You are instructed to
envision or imagine drawing the flower before you actually begin drawing
it. You can see the original drawing and you can see what you are drawing.

Situation 2. You've been shown the same drawing used in Situation 1. Now
it has been put away. Moreover, instead of paper and pencil, you are using
a light pen and tablet which records your attempts to reproduce the drawing
but you cannot see the lines you are drawing. However, once you have
completed your attempt, your drawing can be printed out and you can look at
it and compare it with the original drawing. As in the first case, you are
instructed to envision or imagine drawing the flower before you actually
begin drawing it.

Let's think about this in PCT terms. In the first situation, the task is to
create one drawing you can see that is like another you can see. Because
you can see both drawings, you can continuously judge their differences.
The objective is to have the drawing you are creating be the same as the
other drawing, presumably in all dimensions (size, color, orientation,
proportion, shading, and so on). Because you can always see differences,
mistakes in your hand movements can be corrected, so accuracy of hand
movements is not critical. A person with acute perceptions could end up
producing a drawing exactly matching the sample, given enough time, even if
that person's manual skills were not very good.

In the second situation there are no visual images of drawings, either of
the target drawing or of the developing drawing. Now creating the copy
requires far more difficult skills. First, the memory of the original
drawing must be retained accurately and in full detail. And second, the
kinesthetic _feel_ of drawing (as well as how the hand and pen look, if one
is allowed to see them) must be accurately translated into the effects that
are to be produced by the hand movements, in great detail, and in imagination.

Obviously, the drawing of the flower under the second condition will be
very much worse than under the first condition, especially for people with
poor visual memory. However, if we assume that improvement will take place
with practice, what one will learn is how the feel of drawing correlates
with visual appearance of the final product. Not being allowed to see the
drawings permits attention to be paid to the kinesthetic feel of drawing.
Improvements in the drawing will reflect an improvement in the ability to
produce the movement-feelings needed to create a particular visual
appearance. And I assume that this will enable the person to draw faster,
more accurately, or both, when the first situation is again in effect.

Best,

Bill P.