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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Developmental changes in the semantic part structure of drawn objects


Children produce increasingly more recognizable drawings of object concepts throughout childhood. What drives this improvement? Here we explore the role of children's ability to include relevant parts of those objects in their drawings. We crowdsourced part tags for every pen stroke in 2,160 drawings of 16 common object categories that had been produced by children between 4 and 8 years old. These part decompositions revealed both substantial variation in the number and kind of parts that children emphasized, as well as a non-monotonic relationship between the number of parts that children drew and how recognizable their drawing was. We plan to publicly release these data to catalyze further investigation of how children's drawings change across development.

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