Hi, we’re Nikhil Sonnad and Thu-Huong Ha, the reporters who did this analysis of the public database from Google’s Quick, Draw! game. We compared how people draw basic shapes around the world and found that the way people draw a simple circle is linked to geography and cultural upbringing, developmental psychology and trends in education. You had a lot of questions for us about what this means for you, how we compiled data, and plenty more. We want to answer as many as we can. Ask us anything!

Proof: https://twitter.com/qz/status/877526541432958976

Comments: 29 • Responses: 4  • Date: 

cport19 karma

Did you take into consideration if the the person was left handed or right handed? Also, I would change directions based on the size of the circle I was drawing.

QuartzNews5 karma

Interesting! We haven't considered size as a factor. But it does make sense if you're making an unnaturally large circle that your hand might do something different than if you're making a circle the size of a written "c" or "o."

The Quick, Draw dataset unfortunately didn't include information on whether people were right or left handed. We do know that at one time in the US, psychologists believed right-handed children are more likely to draw their circles counterclockwise, but later research has suggested the direction is cultural, showing that right-handed children in Japan and Israel went clockwise.

Also, the percent of left-handed people across countries is roughly the same, or at least not different enough to cause such a dramatic split between the US and Japan or Taiwan. -- Thu

janeetcetc3 karma

Is there any data on whether people's circling drawing habits change bc they move to another country or bc they moved during a time (age) where you're more susceptible to change? Thanks!

QuartzNews4 karma

Great question. Researchers in 1997 looked at circles from American students in the US, Japanese students in Japan, and Japanese students living in the US. They found the tendencies of the two former groups more pronounced as they got older, while the transplanted Japanese students fell somewhere in the middle. It's a small sample size but interesting:


despicabel2 karma

Thanks for this. I am always fascinated how people write the number 8. I have seen 4-5 variations by myself, among friends and learning toddlers. How do you describe this?

QuartzNews1 karma

Very intriguing. Number drawing isn't something we looked at, but I just asked five people, three adults and two kids, and got three different answers! What are the variations you've seen? I draw an "S" and then connect. -- Thu

jbbertoli1 karma

Did you run into anyone who was upset by the implications of what their circle drawing implied about their upbringing/psychology? Super interesting!

QuartzNews3 karma

Not yet! But I heard a few people conclude they were secretly Japanese and/or a genius. -- Thu