Children's human figure drawings in the UK and Japan: The effects of age, sex and culture

Maureen V. Cox, Masuo Koyasu, Hiromasa Hiranuma, Julian Perara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


The participants were 120 UK and 120 Japanese children. There were two age groups (7-year-olds and 11-year-olds) with equal numbers of boys and girls in each. Each child drew three figures: a man standing and facing the viewer, a man running towards the right, and a man running towards the viewer. The older children's figures were rated more highly than those of younger children, supporting previous research findings. Girls' figures received higher ratings than those of boys, contradicting previous claims that boys are more flexible in their drawings of figures in action. Japanese children's figures received higher ratings than those in the UK, suggesting that Japanese children are influenced by a greater exposure to graphic images in their school art curriculum and the widespread popularity of manga comics. The prediction that Japanese boys would make the greatest adaptations to their figures (since manga comics for boys contain more action figures) was not supported. As well as gaining higher ratings, the older children also constructed their figures in more complex ways than did the younger children. The figures drawn by girls and by the Japanese children were not constructed differently from those of boys or UK children; their higher ratings were attributed to their greater facility in the execution of their constructions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-292
Number of pages18
JournalBritish Journal of Developmental Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2001
Externally publishedYes


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