Looking at the Big Picture: An Analysis of Children’s Family Drawings Across Culture
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Because the family plays such a vital role in child development, it is important to understand how children conceptualize their families and how these conceptualizations are shaped by their broader social context and culture. The current study asked children from the United States (n = 121, 60 female, M = 5.06 years) and Nicaragua (n = 22, 12 female, M = 8.68 years) to “draw a picture of their family.” A coding scheme was adapted (Cherney et al., 2006) to analyze the drawings and included 3 categories (family members, details, and spatial arrangement). Results show that across gender, girls were more likely than boys to accurately depict the correct number of people living in their households (p < .05) and to draw more overall details (p < .05). Children from Nicaragua included significantly more people in their drawings (p < .001), more people outside of their nuclear families (p = .01), and more ears on their figures (p < .001). On the other hand, American children included more mouths (p < .01) and smiles (p < .001), and drew their figures taller (p < .01) and with greater differentiation in height (p < .05). Nicaraguan children were more likely to anchor their figures using heads as a baseline, while American children more often used feet as a baseline (p < .001). Understanding how children’s drawings of their families are shaped by gender and culture will provide significant insight into their early concepts of their social world.
DepartmentPsychology and Neuroscience
CitationHajda, Hana (2019). Looking at the Big Picture: An Analysis of Children’s Family Drawings Across Culture. Honors thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/18470.
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Rights for Collection: Undergraduate Honors Theses and Student papers