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Kinematic measures of brain drawings are associated with illness perceptions in people with stroke

  • Katharina Grünich (a1), Vanessa Garcia-Hoyos (a2), Cathy Stinear (a3), Suzanne Ackerley (a3), Jitske Tiemensma (a4) and Elizabeth Broadbent (a2)...



Previous research has shown that measuring the size and content of patients’ drawings of their illness can reveal their perceptions and predict recovery. This study aimed to assess the usefulness of analyzing kinematic features of drawings.


A pilot observational study was conducted with 15 patients who had been hospitalized with a stroke 8 to 11 months previously. They were asked to draw a picture of what they thought had happened to their brain and describe the drawing using an electronic inking pen and digitizing tablet. Analysis of kinematic data (time to draw/write, drawing/writing speed, and pen pressure) was conducted using MovAlyzeR® software. Evaluations of physical functioning, quality of life, illness perceptions, and emotional well-being were administered, and correlations with kinematic measures assessed.


Stronger pen pressure was associated with perceptions of greater control over the stroke. Faster drawing was correlated with greater worry about a recurrent stroke and the perception that the effects of the stroke would last longer. Needing more time to write was associated with perceptions of fewer consequences of the stroke. No associations between kinematic measures and indicators of stroke severity, physical, or emotional well-being were shown.


Kinematic measures of stroke patients’ drawings of their brain and comments were associated with illness perceptions and not measures of physical or emotional health status. The addition of kinematic analysis may add further utility to the assessment of patients’ drawings of their illness. More studies need to be performed with larger sample sizes and other patient groups.


Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: Dr. Elizabeth Broadbent, Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland, New Zealand. Phone: +64 9 373 7599; Fax: +86756 Facsimile: 64 9 373 7013. Email:


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