Were you good at drawing as a kid? You're probably smart

A new study has linked artistic skills in childhood to intelligence in later life

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An example of some drawings taken from the study Twins Early Development Test, Kings College London

To all of you that could quite capably draw a recognisable human being at the age of four, you probably went on to be pretty smart. That's according to a team of researchers at King’s College London anyway, who published a new study linking childhood artistic skills and adult intelligence in Psychological Science this week.

The scientists asked 7,752 pairs of identical and non-identical twins aged four to draw a picture of child and scored the drawings between 0 to 12, depending on how many human elements the subjects managed to include in their work (basically, that means limbs and discernible facial features). The kids took a verbal and non verbal intelligence test too. A decade later, the same twins were tested again.

The kids who had shown the most artistic promise aged four, i.e the ones who drew all the basic physical attributes of a person like arms, noses and eyes, were shown to still be smarter ten years later than the chump kids who could just about manage the outline of a head. Basically, if you were good at drawing as a kid, you're probably still cleverer than your peers now.

The researchers said that they had expected to see a link between intelligence and artistic skills at the age of four, but were very surprised to see a correlation ten years later.

So if your kid is busting out beautiful artwork as a toddler, then there's every chance you've got a brain on your hands – although lead author of the study, Dr Rosalind Arden, is keen to stress that genius isn't just a matter of artistic talent.

“Our findings are interesting but it does not mean that parents should worry if their child draws badly," she said. "Drawing ability does not determine intelligence, there are countless factors, both genetic and environmental, which affect intelligence in later life.”

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