Scholarly Communications Project

The Effects of Two-Dimensional and Three-Dimensional Stimuli on Spatial Representation in Drawings


Tammy M. McGraw

PhD Dissertation submitted to the Faculty of the Virginia Tech in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of

Doctor of Education


Teaching and Learning


Glen A. Holmes, Chair
David E. Burton
John K. Burton
Norman R. Dodl
David M. Moore

March 26, 1997
Blacksburg, Virginia


Visual learning experiences are becoming increasingly prevalent in education as symbols, imagery and simulations replace traditional text-based materials. Although the utilization of images for instructional purposes is not a new occurrence, most images used in instruction have been two-dimensional representations, giving learners little experience working with three-dimensional images. Little research has been done to explain the effects of two-dimensional and three-dimensional stimuli on the learning process.

This study examined the effects of two-dimensional and three-dimensional stimuli on spatial representation in drawings. Through the use of stereopsis, a scene was projected as both a two-dimensional image and as a three-dimensional image. Students wore polarizing glasses to enable them to perceive the superimposed images as a three-dimensional scene; whereas a single slide was projected when the image was to be perceived as a two-dimensional scene. Four test groups were established from eighth grade students who elected to take art. Participants in Group A were ask to draw the scene from the two-dimensional stimulus and, a week later, from the three-dimensional stimulus. Group B was asked to draw the scene from the three-dimensional stimulus and, a week later, from the two-dimensional stimulus. Group C drew only from the two-dimensional stimulus while Group D drew only from the three-dimensional stimulus.

In all groups, participants were asked to draw the scene as realistically as possible using a graphite pencil. The completed drawings were evaluated for evidence of spatial cues and the students' perception and response to spatial information.

Full text (PDF) 144,399 Bytes

The author grants to Virginia Tech or its agents the right to archive and display their thesis or dissertation in whole or in part in the University Libraries in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all proprietary rights, such as patent rights. The author also retains the right to use in future works (such as articles or books) all or part of this thesis or dissertation.
[ETD main page] [Search ETDs][] [SCP home page] [library home page]

Send Suggestions or Comments to