Perspective improves in accuracy; exaggeration of detailing
sible, just by looking at a client's drawing productions, to deduce the cognitive level of the artist by applying the principles of normative art expectations.
To that end, I have provided Table 3.1 (compiled from DiLeo, 1973, 1983; Gardner, 1980; Levick, 1983; Lowenfeld & Brittain, 1982) as a basic guide to the normative stages of children's art. However, this table is not all inclusive, and I direct the reader to Lowenfeld and Brittain's book Creative and Mental Growth (1982) for further information.
Table 3.1 Continued
Omission of arms
Human figure is definitely recognizable
Baseline appears consistently
Mixed profiles (two eyes and one nose)
Figures show no interaction (looking forward rather than at one another)
Perspective begins at age twelve, with accuracy by age fourteen. Proportion equals emotional value placed on object/person by child at age seven; by age nine proportion increases in accuracy as depth, plane, and elevation appear
Normal until ages 4 or 5; expect arms and hands after age 6
Normal under the age of 8.5-9 By age 7 Age 8
Should not be seen after age 9
As you review Table 3.1, you will notice the gradual progression of detailing, perspective, and proportion, which parallels select developmental milestones. Buck scores these details on a quantitative level and integrates them into his qualitative (formal) interpretation. The use of symbols is therefore woven into the analysis through metaphor and reliance on empirical studies and observation.
Additionally, through his standardization studies, Buck found that formal detailing that is omitted is just as significant as items that are included. One example is chimney smoke. Buck (1966) found "that chimney smoke was drawn by 40% of the standardization Ss of the moron group, and by 35% of the Ss [subjects] of the above average group, but by varying lesser percentages of the Ss of the other groups" (p. 36). The differential values that make up Buck's scoring system were obtained through standardization studies of varying levels of adult intelligence (ages 15 years and above) that ranged from imbecile to superior. Thus, the HTP assessment, when applied to Buck's quantitatively scaled point system, yields information relating to the client's intellect. The therapist gleans this information by scoring each item drawn (the house, tree, and person) on an elaborate objective system that can be found in Buck's House-Tree-Person Technique (revised 1966).
In short, this scoring system appraises the drawn item's descriptive matter, classifies the information based on factor levels coupled with adult norms, and compares the good and flaw scores to arrive at a rough intelligence quotient. This system, however, differs greatly from the present-day administration of the HTP. In Buck's original design the client was given a pencil and three separate sheets of paper (7" x 8.5" in size) and was instructed to "draw the best picture of a house that you can." The client was then instructed to draw a tree and person, respectively, on the remaining pieces of paper. As the client drew these images, the examiner recorded a meticulous account of the elapsed time, spontaneous verbal comments, and sequential details in each rendering. When the nonverbal phase of the test was completed, the examiner then asked the client a series of questions (19 total for the house, 25 total for the tree, and 20 total for the person) that were grouped and staggered to provide gaps between each question item. At this point the patient was then offered eight crayons and was given the same instructions as have been outlined, with a postdrawing inquiry that included five questions for the house, eight for the tree, and nine for the person. The examiner then scored both tests (achromatic and chromatic) on a qualitative and quantitative scale using scoring folders. Buck (1948) states:
Once the examiner has completed his scoring, he is in position to compare the subject's HTP per cent of raw G IQ with his IQ on other and more structured tests which have been designed specifically as a measure of general intelligence. One of the greatest values in estimating an IQ on the HTP seems to lie in the information derivable from its comparison with the IQ's attained by the subject on other tests. (p. 46)
In many cases the HTP IQ is as much as 10 points higher for individuals who find verbalization difficult, whereas the HTP IQ scores for those who are depressed or anxious tend to be significantly lowered. Nevertheless, I must stress that the HTP was intended to be used not as an intelligence test but as a signpost for aptitude. It assesses a client's intellectual level as one aspect of the personality, and Buck has stated that this assessment may more accurately be described as an efficiency quotient instead of an intelligence quotient.
Before we review some HTP evaluations it is important to add the formal aspects that make up the house and tree respectively. These drawn items, and the ensuing content, are as important to a qualitative interpre tation of the HTP as the formal aspects of the completed person were for the DAP. For this reason, I provide Appendixes C and D, which have been adapted from multiple sources (Buck, 1966; DiLeo, 1983; Hammer, 1958); when combined with Appendix B, these appendices will present the clinician with a complete appraisal of a client's personality and functioning within the environment.
In order to illustrate a comparison of Buck's initial design with the method in current use, I have completed two HTP assessments on one adult male. The first set of drawings (panel A of Figure 3.5) is based strictly on Buck's initial design, without the chromatic assessment, while the second (panel B of Figure 3.5) is the presently utilized shortened version of the
HTP art projective test. Both tests were completed within one month, and the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for children (WISC-III) score was collected one week after the final projective test was completed.
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