chapter  7
21 Pages

Human Figure Drawings in Different Cultures

The Importance of the Human Figure The fact that whole books and papers have been written about children's human figure drawings and that diagnostic tests have been developed based solely on them (see Chapters 4 and 5), suggests that the human figure itself is especially important. It certainly does appear to be one of the earliest topics that children draw and remains popular throughout childhood (see Introduction). And a number of researchers have no doubts about its significance: "We have chosen to have children draw men, rather than food or plants because their choices of men have greater social significance" (Dennis, 1966, p. 5) and "Because the human being is so basically important to him [the child], affectively as well as cognitively, it is probable that the human figure is a better index [for concept development] than, for example, a house or an automobile" (Harris, 1963, p. 7). Based on the assumption of its universal importance, DiLeo {1970, p. 224) claimed that, as a consequence, "The Goodenough Draw-a-Man Test is probably as close as we have come to the ideal of a culture-free test of intelligence."