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Relationship Between Our Culture and The Circles We Draw

Updated: Jun 26, 2023

Written by Arda Bora Karahan

Let’s make a test. I want you to draw a circle on a piece of paper. Now, I have some questions: While drawing the circle, did you start drawing from the top or bottom of it? Or, did you draw it levorotatory or dextrorotatory? So, why are these important? Perhaps, the methods that a person will use while they are drawing this basic circle can give some clues about that person’s culture or the region they live. The researchers made an experiment around the world on this topic. They had 100.000 people draw circles from 148 countries and they recorded how they drew the circles one by one. Then, they analyzed these data. The results stated that 86% of the American people drew the circle levorotatory. In any case, 80% of Japanese people preferred drawing it dextrorotatory. England and Australian people also drew it similarly to the Americans. So, why do the Japanese people prefer drawing the circle differently than the others? Can it be associated with their languages? Actually, not only Japanese, it’s the same for Chinese people too, and it’s intimately and directly relevant to these countries’ languages and education systems. In both countries’ cultures, the characters are started to be written from the left top and end at the right bottom. All of these grammatical rules are taught to children from a young age and the education they took are affecting them lifelong. Not all studies are not related to cultural differences. In a psychological research in the 1970s, in America, researchers wanted some children to draw 3 circles around three cross symbols with their right and left hands. In the case of drawing one of the circles dextrorotatory, it’s claimed that the child has some behavioral and cognitive “anomaly.” In a way, we’re used to separating people according to the circle they drew in the 1970s, just like we now discriminate between people according to their skin color.

Concluding, which drawing skill is the right one? How shall we draw the circles? Truthfully, these kinds of questions are pretty meaningless, because there’s no correct answer. Cultures affect most aspects of our lives, without us even releasing them. Even though our methods are different, we extrapolate to the same thing, a circle; but the culture we live in or the languages we speak let us make different choices. Moreover, imagine the effect of all these factors on our way of thinking or perspective of our lives which can either get between each other or can be a chance to get to know each other.

  1. Thu-Huong Ha, N. S. (2017, June 15). How do you draw A circle? we analyzed 100,000 circles to show how culture shapes our instincts. Quartz. Retrieved December 11, 2022, from

  2. Google. (n.d.). Quick, draw! the Data. Google. Retrieved December 11, 2022, from

  3. Barış Özcan. (2017, June 18). Neden herkes farklı şekilde daire çiziyor?


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