Drawings made by children at the age of four could be an indicator of their future intelligence, a new study claims.
Scientists at King's College, London have found evidence of a genetic link between drawing and later intelligence. Their study, which was conducted on 7,752 pairs of identical and non-identical twins, is published in Psychological Science.
Researchers asked the youngsters to draw a picture of a child and their efforts were awarded a score from one to 12, depending on how realistic it was - whether it contained features such as head, ears, mouth, nose and so on.
In addition, the children taking part in the experiment were given verbal and non-verbal intelligence tests at ages four and 14.
The results showed the grades assigned in the drawing test were associated with higher intelligence scores at both ages.
Dr Rosalind Arden, lead author of the paper from the MRC Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre at the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London, warned people not to jump to conclusions based on the results.
"The correlation is moderate, so our findings are interesting, but it does not mean that parents should worry if their child draws badly," she explained.
"Drawing ability does not determine intelligence. There are countless factors, both genetic and environmental, which affect intelligence in later life."
The team also examined the heritability of figure drawing and discovered those by identical twins were more similar than those by non-identical twins.
As identical twins share all of their genetic material, whereas non-identical twins share only 50 per cent, the researchers concluded there was a genetic link to the children's abilities. They also found there was a genetic factor behind drawing at age four and intelligence at age 14.
Dr Arden added that genes are only one influence on people's abilities and there are a range of other elements that play a role in shaping different types of behaviour.
Posted by Tim Colman