Today.Az » Weird / Interesting » Quality of your child’s drawings linked to their intelligence ten years later
19 August 2014 [14:55] - Today.Az

Parents might laugh at their child’s quaint crayon scribbles, but the balloon heads and stick-like limbs have a serious hidden meaning, research shows.

Scientists have found that a four-year-old’s people-drawing ability provides an indicator of his or her intelligence at age 14.

They reveal a connection with gene-driven intelligence that has a measurable effect ten years later.

With the help of parents, psychologists got 15,504 children aged four to take part in a draw-a-child test, rating each picture with a score of zero to 12.

A ‘moderate’ association was seen between higher scores and intelligence test results both at the age of four and 14.

Lead scientist Dr Rosalind Arden, from the Medical Research Council Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, said: ‘The Draw-a-Child test was devised in the 1920s to assess children’s intelligence, so the fact that the test correlated with intelligence at age four was expected.

‘What surprised us was that it correlated with intelligence a decade later.

‘The correlation is moderate, so our findings are interesting, but it does not mean that parents should worry if their child draws badly. Drawing ability does not determine intelligence, there are countless factors, both genetic and environmental, which affect intelligence in later life.’

Drawings were judged on the presence and correct quantity of features such as the head, eyes, nose, mouth, ears, hair, body and arms.

A point was awarded for each correctly presented feature.

The scientists concluded that genetics was an important factor behind differences in children’s drawings, and this was reflected in intelligence test scores at age 14.

The findings appear in the journal Psychological Science.

In their paper, researchers said it was not known whether children who did well in the drawing test were likely to develop a sustained interest in art.

They wrote: ‘This study does not explain artistic talent; the scores only quantify accuracy of attributes, such as the number of limbs, in the drawing.

‘But our results do show that whatever conflicting theories adults have about the value of verisimilitude in early figure drawing, children who express it to a greater extent are somewhat brighter than those who do not.’


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