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The Multidimensional Scaling of a Set of Artistic Drawings: Perceived Structure and Scale Correlates

Skager, Rodney W.; Schultz, Charles B.; Klein, Stephen P.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
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Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Carnegie Corporation, Art Products, Evaluation Criteria, Freehand Drawing, Multidimensional Scaling


Product-centered research on creativity approaches the criterion problem of what is to be the referent for creativity through the analysis of tangible products such as art objects, writing, or scientific achievements. The present research is concerned with the evaluation and study of artistic drawings contributed by sophomore students at the Rhode Island School of Design. Multi-dimensional scaling methods were applied to similarity judgments obtained from art experts on two separate sets of 25 drawings. Three similarity dimensions accounted for the interstimulus distances for each set of drawings. Although no statistical test was available, the dimensions from the two sets appeared to correspond. Scale values of 4 drawings common to the two sets were consistent, and the dimensions appeared to define very similar stimulus characteristics. It was concluded that multidimensional scaling procedures provided a means for differentiating among a set of complex, esthetic products. Scale values of drawings on the three dimensions also correlated differentially with cognitive and achievement measures available on the students, suggesting that product dimensions identified via similarity judgments were related to characteristics of individuals producing the products. Hypotheses were developed as to the psychological meaning of the three product dimensions.

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