The drawing ability of four-year-old children may be an early indicator of how intelligent they will be in their teens.
Psychologists at the Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Center at King's College London asked 15,500 young children - identical and non-identical twins - to draw a picture of a child. Investigators graded the artwork on a scale of zero to 12, based the number of features that were included and how accurate they were, including the head, hair, eyes, nose, legs and mouth.
The kids were also given verbal and non-verbal intelligence tests. They were re-tested at age 14.
Teenagers whose pictures were deemed the best as kids tended to score higher on IQ tests as young children and again at age of 14.
Researchers concluded that the quality of the pictures was linked to genes that influence intelligence.
Drawings and IQ scores of identical twins, whose DNA is identical, tended to be similar, further evidence, say researchers, linking IQ to genes. But drawings by non-identical twin siblings, who share 50 percent of their genes, were more varied and they were more likely to have dissimilar IQ scores.
The results of the study are published in the journal Psychological Science.
Investigators were quick to reassure parents of children whose pictures received lower marks that the results are not fate. Researchers say intelligence is influenced by a wide variety of factors, including environmental experiences.