Cognitive processing of drawing abilities

  • Guérin F
  • Ska B
  • Belleville S
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This critical review examines constructional apraxia from a cognitive neuropsychological perspective. To our knowledge, van Sommers (1989) is the only researcher to present a global cognitive model of drawing abilities. He organizes it into two hierarchical systems: Marr's model of visual perception and a graphic production system. The latter comprises four hierarchically organized components: depiction decisions, production strategy, contingent planning, and articulatory and economic constraints. Van Sommers' model will be discussed in light of other models and on the basis of empirical neuropsychological studies (Farah, 1984; Kosslyn and Koenig, 1992; Roncato, Sartori, Masterson, and Rumiati, 1987; van Sommers, 1989). We find that: (1) the Kosslyn and Koenig visual perception model describes more accurately the perceptual components underlying copying than the visual perception system of van Sommers' drawing model, (2) Van Sommers' arguments in favor of a depiction processing as opposed to visual imagery are not convincing, (3) Van Sommers' assumption that a production strategy is a component is unclear, and (4) articulatory and economic constraints are not cognitive components, but constraints imposed during action programming. This literature review leads to a discussion of future research topics and the specificity of constructional apraxia.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Apraxia
  • Cognition
  • Drawing

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  • Fanny Guérin

  • Bernadette Ska

  • Sylvie Belleville

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