NCDS – Age 7 – Human Figure Drawing

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The 1958 National Child Development Study (NCDS) assessed their cohort members (CMs) during the study’s age 7 sweep using the Human Figure Drawing measure.

Details on this measure and the data collected from the CMs are outlined in the table below.


Domain:General ability (perceptual)
Measures:General mental and perceptual ability. Purports to measure cognitive maturation.
CHC:Gv (Visual Processing)
Administrative method:Teacher at school; face to face; pen and paper
Procedure:The child was asked to ‘make a picture of a man’, within the rectangular frame. They were asked to make the best picture they could and to draw a whole person, not just a face or head.
Duration: (expected 60 - 90 minutes for all 3 tests at age 7)
Link to questionnaire:No direct link to pdf. Information can be found in the file ‘ncds1_1965_questionnaires_and_codebook.pdf’ which accompanies data download from UK Data Service website.
Scoring:Awarded a mark out of 100 according to the features that were included
Item-level variable(s):Not currently available
Total score/derived variable(s):N1840
Age of participant (months):Mean = 85.11, SD = 1.56, Range = 82 - 93
Descriptives:Raw score
N = 14,642
Range = 0 - 53
Mean = 23.84
SD = 7.08
(click image to enlarge)
Other sweep and/or cohort:BCS70 – Age 5 – Human Figure Drawing (different scoring system)
Source:Modified version of the ‘Draw-a-man’ test (Goodenough, 1926) and later developed by Harris (1963).
Goodenough, F. L. (1926). The measurement of intelligence by drawings, New York: World Book Company.
Harris, D. B. (1963). Children's drawings as measures of intellectual maturity, New York: Harcourt, Brace and World.
Scoring was based on: Koppitz, E M. (1968). Psychological Evaluation of Children’s Human Figure Drawings. New York: Grune and Stratton
Technical resources:Shepherd, P. Measures of ability at ages 7 to 16. National Child Development Study User Guide, 2012.
Reference examples:Schoon, I., Bynner, J., Joshi, H., Parsons, S., Wiggins, R. D., & Sacker, A. (2002). The influence of context, timing, and duration of risk experiences for the passage from childhood to midadulthood. Child Development, 73(5), 1486-1504.
Schoon, I., & Parsons, S. (2002). Competence in the face of adversity: the influence of early family environment and long‐term consequences. Children & Society, 16(4), 260-272.

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This page is part of CLOSER’s ‘A guide to the cognitive measures in five British birth cohort studies’.