children drawing art work cognitive intelligence smart

Look at Your 4 Year Olds Art Work, Do You Have a Genius?

Posted on Posted in Blog, Parenting's Not Easy, School Me on Research

Look at Your 4 Year Olds Art Work, Do You Have a Genius?

When my oldest started school I saved every little piece of art work she brought home.  I savored her crayon colors all outside the lines.  I kept a nice neat pile on my kitchen counter of every water color and scribble scrabbles that showed up on loose leaf notebook and construction paper.  But there came a point one day when that art work pile began to tilt and finally topple.  My drawers and counters runneth over with art work.   I had no more room on the refrigerator.  I had to make a tough decision.  Some art work would have to stay and others would have to go.  What qualified for the refrigerator or the trash can?  Art work with the kiddos hand prints, just about anything that said Happy Mother’s Day and identifiable self- portraits - stayed.  Art work that required twenty questions in order to grasp interpretation - went.   I felt bad about having to throw away art work – at first.  But two more kids later I shamelessly stuff art work discreetly between discarded paper plates and last week’s leftovers.  Perhaps I will feel bad about it one day if any of my three turn out to be the next Jonathan Green.
A study released in August suggests that parents may want to do more with their child’s art work than decide if it’s frame or trash worthy.  This study consisted of 7,752 twin pairs born in England and Wales from 1994-1996.  Children were asked by their parents to draw a person. Parents were advised not to remind their child of any features included on a human body, i.e. eyes, legs, feet, hands etc.  Children received high scores on the drawing test if they were able to ‘correctly’ draw a human body.  The children in this study were also given a verbal and non-verbal intelligence test at age 4 and 14. The study concluded that:
Children whose drawings got high scores at age four tended to score higher on the intelligence tests at age 14.
Drawings from the identical twins were more similar to one another than drawings from non-identical twins, which suggests the link between drawing and later intelligence is influenced by genes.
Researchers warn that this study does not prove that unidentifiable art work of people by your four year old in any way means that they will not be smart. Parental educational background and income are still worthy factors that impact a child’s life.  But the study, to say the least, is interesting.  It is nice to think that something as simple as a fully drawn stick figure by your four year old could mean that you have a little genius on your hands.


What do you think when you look at your child’s drawings?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *