FPT and The Intelligence of Young Children

Dear Friends,
Before leaving young children and consider how excellence in intelletual skills can be identified among adolescents and youg adults, I want to say something about how FPT can be used to gauge the cognitive functining of the pre-adolescent young children. Since this is linked with the ideas of Piaget and Freud, let me say a few words by way of a prelude.  By formal training I am a Piagetian cognitive psychologist trained by none other than Joan Bliss of University of London, and who is a direct student of Piaget himself with active contact with him at that time, ie. early seventies. I wrote my masters thesis on Language and Cognitive Development under her supervision and in which I brought in my own Process Grammar  to bear upon the issue of cognitive development of young children. It is a thesis  that I am proud of even now and earned me the coveted distinction. However subsequently I noticed that despite the extensive and minute studies of Piaget of children( he was botanist by training) including his own, there was something lacking but which was made a central isssue in the theory of child development by Freud. It looks as though there is a strong correlation between sexual differentiation and cognitive growth. The young infant is neither male nor female in its thinking, only through a process of identification and mimesis that a child learns that he is a male or a female and adjusts himself/herself  accordingly. When this kind of sexual differetiation is hamphered for some reason or other, problems in cognitive development also arise, possibly because of some emotional blockages. When I tried to get such informations through the NBT, I noticed that I could not, at least to the degree of detail that I needed,  to solve problems related to young children. It is at that point that I thought of Family Portrait Test which I use now more extensively for young children. The psychology of young children is determined more by the kind of attachment behaviour they establish with their parents  This knowledge is nothing new. There is a Tamil proverb: annaiyum pithaavum munnaRi theyvam, meaning the Mother and Father are the  earliest deities a child comes to know. I noticed that  this can be linked with the functioning of Natham and Bindhu(Yin Yang etc) and this in turn with hemispherical functioing of the child. It appears that healthy cognitive growth is possible only when both hemispherical functioning are activated and in this the role of parents is  vital. It also appears to me that while the attachment to Mother activates the right hemispherical and hence the emotinal and the imaginative, attachment to Father the left hemispherical and hence the analytical. The Bindhu acts though the Mother while the Natham acts through the Father.

Now a mentally healthy child is one who draws all the figures without deletions  of constituent parts and distortions in terms of sizes. Furthermore when it comes to the drawings of Self particularly that when grown up, there is clear sex differentiation with boys drawing figures similar to father and girls that to mother. Such images of clear sexual identities provide them with a value system that allows them to  interact socially and effectively. Even though the child may not be ARTICULATE about such matters, and possibly because they are lodged in the subconscious, their  effectivity in social and cognitive functioning are claerly observable. There is also a correlation between a happy and harmonious relationship between parents and such mentally healthy children. Somehow or other the way parents live and interact influnce the children in a mysterious manner and help them  to generate a self image with clear sex identity along with many other identities.

Here I must also mention the enormous importance of the CULTURE the parents live in the generation of such images. They  not only disclose the sex identity but also the cultural identity e.g. a muslim child draws either mother of father or both in the typical islamic image. Modern parents, to whatever religion they belong to, help to generate images that are modern in terms of dress and other indicators. It also appears to me - I am saying this as a hunch , as something that needs to be investigated more thoroughly-  that children who genrate modern looking images are intelectually quite bold and hence more creative.

A cautionary note: I haven't investigated FPT to the extend I have NBT. Much of what I  have said above are based upon studies that I have conducted so far and reasonably well corroborated by replications by some of my  students. But much remains to be further investigated.