Using drawings to assess self-animal perceptions

Martin Smith, Cheryl L. Meehan, Richard P. Enfield, Pamela Castori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Exposure to pets and wildlife can help children develop positive attitudes toward animals, which can foster the development of empathy and ecological stewardship. However, geographical, logistical and economic restrictions limit opportunities for many youth to interact directly with live animals. Thus, educational interventions that utilize imitation animal artifacts rather than live animals, and which are effective in helping children develop an understanding of animals, present an important resource for educators. In the current study, the impact of a curriculum that employs imitation animal artifacts on children's perceptions of their relationships to animals was assessed. Third grade children's (n = 96) perceptions of their relationships to animals were analyzed by means of a drawing assessment tool. An analytic scoring rubric was used to assess three features of the drawings: Interactivity, Affect, and Realism. The combination of these elements was defined as the construct Self-Animal Perception. Change in Self-Animal Perception was assessed over time using repeated measures ANOVA. The curriculum intervention resulted in significant improvement in Self-Animal Perception scores relative to controls. The Self-Animal Perception construct and the drawing assessment tool utilized for measuring children's perceived relationships to animals are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)122-139
Number of pages18
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 2005


  • Animal
  • Assessment
  • Child-animal relationships
  • Children
  • Drawings
  • Humane education
  • Perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Anthropology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • veterinary (miscalleneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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