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It is most ironic that the Draw a Man test was invented by a woman and that girls outscore boys, but in the 1920s, women were devalued. The great Florence Goodenough realized that as children got older, their drawings became more sophisticated and thus could be used as a proxy for mental age. Goodenough’s test was not a good measure of IQ, but at times it was good enough (get it?).

When the test was revised in 1962 by Dale Harris, not only did he add a “Draw a Woman” subtest, but he added a quality scale so that rather than spending half an hour going through a long checklist of dozens of different criteria, psychologists could just compare a drawing they were scoring to a progression of drawings ranked from level 1 (crude stick figure) to level 12 (a detailed sketch) and judge which level it most resembled. This may sound subjective, but different judges gave very similar scores (though today machine learning could probably improve objectivity).

What I love about the quality scale is that when they were making it, they instructed the judges to divide all the drawings they reviewed into 12 separate piles such that difference in quality between each pile was equal. This makes the raw scores a true interval scale, unlike most tests which are only ordinal scales.

Please study the progression of drawings from 1 to 12, and notice how as you move up the scale, you get a gradual and consistent improvement in accuracy, detail and proportion (with no sudden jumps in quality). Based on the linear progression, try to imagine a drawing that would merit a level 13 or 14 etc if the scale extended that high:

Now please compare the below drawings which I’ll be discussing in future articles to the quality scale and vote on where they should rank. Please vote before wondering who drew them or reading the comments since that could bias your judgement. Please be as objective as possible. Consider the level of maturity of each drawing (using the above quality scale as a guide), not whether you like or dislike it.

Although all drawings should be of men, in some cases artists took certain liberties (i.e. head of a bird etc). In such cases use your best judgement to decide what score the drawing merits.

I could have scored these myself but it seems more objective and scientific to rely on the wisdom of crowds: