Historically, the Draw-a-Person test (also called the Goodenough-Harris Draw-A-Person test or Draw-AMan test) was used as a relatively culture-free means of assessing nonverbal intelligence or to screen for emotional or behavior disorders, primarily in children and young adolescents. There are also versions that encompass the lifespan.
This test is quite simple to administer, and the directions readily understood by most clients, even young children. They are asked to do their very best job of drawing three separate figures: a man, a woman, and themselves. They are not instructed on order of presentation, nor are they offered a time limit in which to complete the drawings, although most people finish their drawing within about 10 to 15 minutes.
There is a detailed, standardized and normed scoring system that incorporates a number of different areas:
- Is the figure recognizable as a human?
- Arehead, extremities, trunk and shoulders presentand in roughly appropriate placement and proportion?
- Are the arms and legs connected to the trunk (assuming that trunk is present)? Are they in appropriate placement? Is there a neck? Is it connected to the head and trunk?
- Does the figure contain eyes? One or two? Are there a nose, mouth, nostrils, lips, hair? Appropriateness and degree of detail.
- Does clothing appear to be present? How many articles of clothing are there? Are they opaque or transparent? How many pieces of clothing are present? Is there detailing in the attire?
- Do the figures show representation of fingers? How many are there? Are they realistic and drawn essentially to scale? Is there an opposable thumb? Is the hand articulated from the fingers and arm?
- Are there joints in the arms and legs (shoulder, elbow, knee, hip? Is the head proportional to the body/trunk (not more than one-half or less than one-tenth)? Are the arms roughly equal in length to the body, but not reaching as low as the knees? Do the feet have two dimensions (length and width)? Are they no less than one-tenth and no more than one-third of leg length? Are the legs and arms both drawn in two dimensions?
- Are the lines drawn with clarity and precision? Do they meet accurately and without shakiness? Are outlines, especially of the head and body, relatively accurate? Is the head more than a simple circle? Is the body drawn with relative accuracy and proportion? Are the arms and legs drawn proportionately? Do they attach to the body without obvious narrowing or pointedness? Are all aspects of the drawing symmetrical, particularly facial features and fingers?
- Are there ears present? How many? Are there eyelashes and eyebrows? Do the eyes contain detail such as pupils? Is eye length greater than width? Are the forehead and chin present and apparent?
- If figure drawn in profile, is the chin accurate in detail and angle? Does the foot have a heel? Are the head, body, and feet accurately drawn? Is the figure drawn with depth rather than being one-dimensional?
See also Assessment, psychological
; Intellligence; Mental age
; Projective techniques.
Cohen, Ronald Jay, et al. Psychological Testing and Assessment: An Introduction to Tests and Measurement. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2013.
Shneidman, Edwin S. Thematic Test Analysis. New York: Grune & Stratton, 1964.
Tiliopoulos, Niko, and Simon Boag. Personality and Individual Differences: Theory, Assessment, and Application. New York: Nova Science, 2011.
Arteche, Adriana, et al. “Draw-a-Person Test: The Sex of the First-drawn Figure Revisited.” The Arts in Psychotherapy 37, no. 1 (February 2010): 65–69.