If you’ve ever seen childhood drawings by Pablo Picasso, it is evident that the now famous artist had a bright future ahead of him. Researchers are now saying that not only is a child’s early artistic ability an indicator of future talent, but also of future intelligence.
In a study by King’s College in London, researchers conducted a figure-drawing test that was able to establish a strong correlation between artistic accuracy and intelligence.
The study consisted of gathering 7,752 pairs of four year-old identical and fraternal twins and asking them each to draw a picture of a child. The drawings were then judged and awarded points for realistic portrayals of eyes, nose, mouth, hair, arms, and other human features. The children were also given various intelligence tests and the results showed that the greater the drawing score, the greater the intelligence score.
A decade later, the same groups of twins were tested yielding exactly the same results. This allowed researchers to conclude that a young child’s drawing ability is correlated with their future cognitive ability. Further, the study also found that the skills exhibited by identical twins were related, linking genetics to both artistic and cognitive ability.
“Drawing is the end result of lots of cognitive processes: Perception, focus, observation, attention, figuring out how to get a shape down on paper, staying on task,” explains the study’s lead author, Dr. Rosalind Arden.
As with most experiments, this study does not claim it has found an absolute test for future intelligence. Arden explains, “Drawing ability does not determine intelligence, there are countless factors, both genetic and environmental, which affect intelligence in later life.”
So if your kid’s drawing of a human looks more like a jelly donut, there is really no cause for concern. They may just not be the next Picasso.