Kids are always drawing pictures of people. If they’re lucky, one of those pictures might go up on the fridge. Others might quietly end up in the recycling. But those pictures could hold the key to proving that your child is a genius.
New research carried out in the Netherlands has shown that highly gifted children include details in their drawings that other children don’t.
A study was done involving 120 schoolchildren aged between seven and nine. Just over a third of the children had been identified as “highly gifted”, while the rest were “non-gifted”.
The children were asked to draw a person, and then those drawings were analysed. There was a long list of items that only highly gifted children included in their drawings. These included freckles, eye make-up, nipples, a goatee, arm hair, nails, genitals, urine and mucus.
The highly gifted children were also more likely to show the person’s head from the side, to have the person’s hands in their pockets, or to draw a frame around the person.
According to the researchers – Sven Mathijssen, Max Feltzer and Lianne Hoogeveen – the highly gifted children were producing “more novel” drawings because of their creativity. Their drawings reflected their own unique expression.
So why is this drawing test so significant? What’s wrong with a good old IQ test to find out whether a child is gifted?
Well, some gifted kids, for whatever reason, are underachievers. They might give unusual answers to test questions, which are not exactly wrong, but can’t be marked correct. Other gifted kids suffer from “test anxiety” when presented with a sheet of questions, because of nerves or perfectionism. These kids are less likely to feel stressed when asked to do a drawing.
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The researchers point out that the test isn’t perfect, and it focuses more on giftedness in terms of creativity rather than pure intelligence. However, it could be useful in identifying gifted kids who might not otherwise have been identified.
Interestingly, the test only works on children under the age of 10. The longer gifted children spend in primary school, the more likely they are to do simple drawings that look like those of their classmates.
So the next time your child presents you with a drawing that shows you with wrinkles, saggy boobs and unplucked hairs on your chin, give them a huge hug. They might have just shown signs of genius.
Do you worry about if your child will be gifted?