A study has shown that the drawings of young children could be an indicator of intelligence in later life.
The study, performed by the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London, carried out the research on 7,752 pairs of identical and non-identical twins.
At age four, the children were given a ‘Draw-a-Child’ test, where they were, as you’d expect, asked to draw a child. The drawings were then scored between 0 and 12 based on how accurate they were in terms of having the right amount of legs, arms, and facial features like eyes and a nose.
The four-year-old twins were also given verbal and non-verbal intelligence tests. These tests were repeated 10 years later when the children were 14, and a correlation was found between drawing ability at a young age and their intelligence later on.
The lead author of the paper, Dr Rosalind Arden, explained her findings.
“The Draw-a-Child test was devised in the 1920’s 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.”
She reassured parents however that they shouldn’t take these findings to heart:
“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.”
The study was conducted on twins in order to examine the heritability of both intelligence and drawing ability. Interestingly it was found that identical twins had a more similar drawing style than non-identical twins, suggesting a genetic link.
“This does not mean that there is a drawing gene,” Dr Arden explained. “A child’s ability to draw stems from many other abilities, such as observing, holding a pencil etc. We are a long way off understanding how genes influence all these different types of behaviour.”