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Horm Behav. 2001 Sep;40(2):99-104.

Sex differences in children's free drawings: a study on girls with congenital adrenal hyperplasia.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Juntendo University School of Medicine, Hongo, Tokyo 113-8421, Japan.


Sex differences are recognized in children's free drawings with respect to motifs, colors, figure compositions, and expression. Boys tend to draw mobile objects and mechanical objects with dark or cold colors and often use bird's-eye-view composition when they draw pictures, whereas girls like to draw human motifs (especially girls and women), flowers, and butterflies with light and warm colors and tend to arrange motifs in a row on the ground. Analyses were made on the drawings of girls with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) and unaffected boys and girls, using masculine and feminine indexes. Sex difference in masculine and feminine indexes was clear in the drawings by unaffected boys and girls. Their drawings do not or mostly do not contain characteristics typical of the opposite sex. Compared with those of unaffected girls, the pictures of CAH girls more strongly showed masculine characteristics. The feminine index for the pictures of CAH girls was significantly lower than that for unaffected girls, while the masculine index for CAH girls was significantly higher than that for unaffected girls. Furthermore, the masculine index for CAH girls was not significantly different from that of unaffected boys. These results suggest that androgen exposure during fetal life may contribute to shaping masculine characteristics in children's free drawings.

Copyright 2001 Academic Press.

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