1. ITV Report

Study: Children's drawings are a marker of future intelligence

Researchers have found that there is a link between the drawings by four-year-olds and their performance in future intelligence tests.

They asked 7,752 pairs of twins - a total of 15,504 children - to draw a picture of a child.

Each of the drawings was given a score between 0 and 12 based on the presence and correct number of body parts such as a head, arms, legs and facial features.

Two examples of drawings by four-year-olds that were rated '10' Credit: Institute of Psychiatry/King’s College London

The children who made the best drawings were found to achieve better in verbal and non-verbal intelligence tests, both at the time and at age 14.

"It does not mean that parents should worry if their child draws badly," said lead author Dr Rosalind Arden, pointing out that the correlation is only "moderate".

Three drawings that were rated '6' Credit: Institute of Psychiatry/King’s College London

The research also suggests that the correlation between drawing and later intelligence is influenced by genes.

Overall, identical twins - who share the same genes - produced drawings that were much more similar to one another than those of non-identical twins, who only share around 50% of their genes.

All of the twins, whether identical or not, were likely to have similar upbringings, family environment and access to materials.

It suggests that drawing ability is largely inherited, although Dr Arden says this does not mean 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 Rosalind Arden, King's College London

The study was conducted by a team at the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London and was published in Pychological Science on Tuesday.