chapter  6
9 Pages

Sex Differences in Children's Human Figure Drawings

Topics Selected in Spontaneous Drawings In Western cultures, as Lark-Horovitz et al. (1973) point out, males are typically interested in machines, transportation, and the like, and this interest is reflected in their drawings; boys are also interested in portraying movement and figures in action. The characteristics of girls' pictures, in contrast, tend to be of static scenes with much detail and decoration; their human figures are more detailed than those of boys (Goodenough, 1926; Harris, 1963; Knopf & Richards, 1952). This difference in topic choice may explain why boys have been noted to alter the rigid schema of the human figure at an earlier age than girls (Goodenough, 1926) and also experiment earlier with perspective representations, leading Kerschensteiner (1905), for example, to report that boys excel in nearly all kinds of drawing, except in "certain kinds of decorative design". It should also be noted, however, that boys in Munich at that time, and indeed boys in London, were allowed more time in the curriculum for drawing and therefore had more instruction and more practice in drawing, and for this reason alone it is perhaps not surprising that Cyril Burt (1921) declared that boys were "eminently superior to the girls".