A Study Shows that Your Child's Drawing Ability Indicates Later Intelligence

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By Sarah Thomas | August 20, 2014 11:15 AM EST

Children that begins to draw at a young age are not just talented; researchers found a close link between drawing and intelligence. A 'Draw-a-Child' test was given to 4-year-old children, in which the parents told their young ones to draw a picture of a child. Based on their drawing they were scored, 0 as the lowest and 12 as the highest. The correct bodily features and added details are the criteria on which the children were scored. Verbal and non verbal intelligence tests were also given to the children aging 4 and 14.

Reuters
Pakistani schoolgirl activist Malala Yousafzai draws a face during a visit to the Emancipation Village at Queen's Park Savannah in Port of Spain, July 31, 2014. REUTERS/Andrea De Silva (TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO - Tags: EDUCATION SOCIETY)

Researchers found a link between the 'Draw-a-Child' test scores and their intelligence levels. The correlation between drawing and intelligence was moderate at ages 4 (0.33) and 14 (0.20). Dr Rosalind Arden, lead author of the paper from the MRC Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry (SGDP) Centre at the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London, said that the drawing test was developed way back in the 1920s to assess children's intelligence. So the correlation between the drawing scores and the child's intelligence level was something they had expected. "What surprised us was that it correlated with intelligence a decade later," she said.

But she assured parents that there was nothing to worry about if their children are bad in drawing since the test only showed a "moderate correlation" between the two. Dr Arden pointed towards various other factors such as genetics and environment that also has a contibution to a child's intelligence and affects their development as well.

Researchers also found a genetic link between drawing and intelligence. They conducted the test on 7,752 identical twins who had the same genes and 7,752 non identical twins who only share 50 percent of the genes. But since the environmental factors are the same on the twins in their families, only the genetic factor was taken into consideration. They found that identical 4-year-old twins had similar drawings than non identical twins of the same age group. With this they concluded that drawing at age 4 and intelligence at age 14 had a strong genetic link.

"This does not mean that there is a drawing gene. 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", Dr Arden explains.

She also stated that drawing helps understand what is in the depths of one's mind. The ability to reproduce figures is specific to humans and is a sign of cognitive ability. It is a "similar way to writing, which transformed the human species' ability to store information and build a civilisation."

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(Photo: Reuters / )
Pakistani schoolgirl activist Malala Yousafzai draws a face during a visit to the Emancipation Village at Queen's Park Savannah in Port of Spain, July 31, 2014. REUTERS/Andrea De Silva (TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO - Tags: EDUCATION SOCIETY)
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