A forest for the trees

A tree

A forest for the trees is a stimulus set designed by Todd Gureckis and Nathaniel Blanco for use in a dimensional categorization task with preschool aged children (a ongoing collaboration with Marjorie Rhodes).

The stimuli are illustrations of trees that vary along two dimensions – the “bushiness” of the leaves:

and the color of the leaves:

The stimuli are relatively rich and realistic and made for a compelling cover-story/game for young children. The basic task was to categorize of the trees into two groups. The children had to learn the basis for the categorical grouping (either business, color, or some combination of both).

Some of the items looks somewhat similar when viewed in isolation, but when arranged in a row the structure is clear. The stimuli can be used as is, or a subset along each dimension could be used to maximize the between stimulus differences.

Here is the full set:

It was inspired in equal parts by Jared Tarbell’s computational tree garden and by New York’s Adirondack fall.

Illustrator and .png versions of the graphics are provided in the following zip file:

All images copyright to Todd Gureckis and Nathaniel Blanco! Feel free to use them in your projects if they end up useful!