Kids’ Drawings Might Predict Intelligence 10 Years Later


drawingThose drawings your preschooler did that are hanging on the refrigerator may predict how many A’s might appear on his or her middle school report card. A study published in Psychological Science found that the accuracy of a child’s observational skills as demonstrated by their drawings is tied directly to their level of intelligence in adolescence.

7,752 pairs of 4-year old identical and non-identical twins were asked by their parents to enter a “Draw-a-Child” contest. Their drawings were graded from 0 to 12, based on how accurately they represented the human form. The drawings were checked to see if all the major body parts such as head, arms, legs and others were included. The children were then asked to take a short intelligence test. A moderate, but obvious correlation was found between high drawing scores and intelligence. Then, ten years later, the subjects were asked to take another intelligence test. Again, the correlation was found. It was also found that the intelligence and the drawing scores of the identical twins were more similar than those of the non-identical twins, indicating that the type of intelligence connected to drawing is likely genetic. The researchers were not surprised at the link between drawing ability and intelligence for the four year olds, since this relationship had been shown as far back as 1926. But, to see the correlation hold up 10 years later was surprising.

So, should you despair if your toddler gets out the crayons and creates a scribbled mess? Not necessarily. Rosalind Arden of King’s College in London, the lead author of the study said, “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.”
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