Artists and architects think differently compared to other people – UCL study


We wanted to test the hypothesis that if you were trained to work in a particular spatial profession, it might change the
way you think about space. There’s the picture of nature which is round, fat. You can grab it. You can pick it up, and you can walk around inside of it. And then there’s the nature of the picture and the nature of the picture is flat. And so you’re changing something which is round into something which is flat. I’m always looking for shapes because that’s what you can do when you’re painting – really all you can do is make a shape. What we found was that the architects
generally talked about path through the space in these images where they would
go in the space even when they’re describing it. Whereas the painters would
think about the 2D and the 3D space presented in the image – so how the
different planes are working and they would flip between these different
perspectives. And the sculptors were somewhere between the two – sometimes like a painter, sometimes more like an architect. The other thing we found was
that if you look at just two words ‘back’ and ‘end’ – so if somebody describes the
image by describing the back of the image, they’re much more likely to be a
painter than the other professions. Whereas if they use the word ‘end’ of the image, they’re much more likely to be an architect. And that fit with other measures we took from the way they describe the space. The architects are more interested in the path – so where’s the end of the path in the image. And the painters are more obsessed with the foreground/background of the image – so
the back of the image. So even just honing down into just two words, we can sort of get a sense of how the profession these people undertake changes how the way they conceive the space. You know, you’re stuck with the flatness of the canvas. I’ve made it slightly surreal. I’ve pulled lots of different different levels into it. There’s a kind of very flat – this idea of the flat painting. It’s a long-standing theory that how you how you learn about the world the training you receive, your
profession, actually influences your thought. This is evidence that we’ve got here that that is the case.

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2 thoughts on “Artists and architects think differently compared to other people – UCL study”

  1. Tian Tian says:

    could u tell me more about the paintings in this clip? such as the one at 1'23'', it haunts me…

  2. Alissa c says:

    Ooh interesting

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