385 - Background The aim of this study was to...

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Unformatted text preview: Background The aim of this study was to research what effect the age and gender of a child had on the complexity of their drawing. The grading system devised by Viktor Lowenfeld and Betty Edwards was used. (Lowenfeld, 1952, Edwards, 1997) Pictures were scored on how realistic they appeared, how much detail was used and if the baselines of the pictures were correct. Due to the advanced fine motor skills observed in young females when compared to young males, it was hypothesised that when boys and girls of the same age are asked to draw a picture, girls will complete more complex drawings with greater attention to detail. (Cherney et al, 2009) This can also be due to the fact that females seem to be more attentive to family relations, thus the drawings of their family would have greater detail. (Cherney et al, 2009) It was also supposed that if the differences between boys and girls reflect differences in the rate of attainment of developmental milestones (fine motor skills, concentration levels etc), then we would expect that the rate of improvement in drawing quality will improve over age faster for boys than for girls, as boys are catching up developmentally to girls. This is due to the fact that boys and girls develop at different rates, with boys starting off slower. (Marlin, 2009) Method: Participants For this experiment, 35 pictures of the children’s drawings were analysed. These children ranged in age from 3 to 10 years of age with 16 boys and 19 girls. These children attend local primary school care centres. Permission was given for the child’s participation in this study. Procedure The children were asked to draw a picture of their family with no time constraints. These drawings were then collected and scored according to the system devised by Viktor Lowenfeld and modified by Betty Edwards (Lowenfeld, 1952, Edwards, 1997). There were 6 categories ranging in score from 1 ­1000. The pictures were shown for 20 seconds to the researchers and their initial score was used. Also of importance is that the researchers knew the hypotheses but not the age or gender of the children concerned. Drawing Complexity was based on, how realistic the picture was, how much detail was used and whether the child had the baselines correct. The complexity of the drawing was directly influenced by the independent variables of age of and gender of the children. Once the score of the drawings was determined the total of the scores of the different genders was calculated, as was the average of total of the age groups. These results were then analysed. Results As the first hypothesis states, girls drawings were slightly more complex than boys overall according to the data collected. In general, the girls of a particular age group performed better than the boys of the same age group. It can also be seen that as a general rule, the older a child gets the more complex their drawing becomes. On the above graph, the line of best fit for the girl’s scores is a straight line, indicating that girls improve at a steady rate in their drawing complexity. Conversely, the boys line of best fit is an exponential curve, concave up. This indicates that boys start of improving slower than girls but speed up to reach the same place at the same age as girls, which supports the second hypothesis. Conclusion The results obtained were slightly different to what the first hypothesis predicted. Although the general trend was the same, it was expected that the difference between the two sexes would be more pronounced. The main difference in the pictures was that girls drawing had more detail. This could be attributed to the fact that girls appear to value relationships more than boys, thus pay more attention to the finer details of their family and friends appearance. (Cherney et al, 2006) The second hypothesis, that of boys catching up to girls in drawing complexity was shown to be correct in this study. This can be due to the fact that girls develop fine motor skills earlier than boys, but boys will speed up to reach the same place. (Marlin, 2009) However, this explanation is assuming that drawing complexity is based solely on fine motor development. In this study, attention to detail was also significant, and this attention could come from a child’s ability to memorise the environment. As a child ages, as does their spatial thinking and ability to memorise objects appearance. This would affect their drawing complexity (Cherney et al, 2009). A child’s cognitive development may also affect their drawing complexity. The children used in this study were in the Preoperational Stage or the Concrete Operational Stage according to Piaget’s theory (Marlin, 2009). This study suggests that as a females drawing is more complex at a younger age than a boys drawings, then their cognitive development occurs earlier. This experiment is in agreement with the research done by Cherney et al (2006) in showing how a child’s age affects their drawing complexity. Cherney’s et al (2006) study showed how as a child’s spatial thinking develops, their drawings become more complex. If this study were to be repeated, it is recommended that there are a greater number of children tested. This would average out any exceptions making the study more accurate. It also recommended that the pictures are shown for a longer amount of time in order to gain a more correct score. In conclusion, this study was a good indication of how age and gender affects a child’s drawing ability, but it did not give much reason for why this is the case. It showed that a female child in general has a greater ability to draw complex drawings, and that as a child grows older their drawing complexity increases. It also shows that males will catch up to girls although they begin their development at a later date. References: • Cherney, I.D. et al (2006) ‘Children’s Drawings: A mirror to their minds’, Educational Psychology, Vol 26, no. 1, pp. 127 ­142 • Edwards, B. (1997) ‘Drawing out the modern mind’ , Critique magazine, no. 6, pp 39 ­45 • Lowenfeld, V. (1952) ‘Creative and mental growth : a textbook on art education / Viktor Lowenfeld 2 ed’ Macmillan, New York • Marlin, 2009, Lecture at University of Newcastle ...
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