The Draw-a-Person (DAP) test is a psychological assessment tool developed by psychologist Florence Goodenough in the 1920s. It was initially designed to measure the intellectual ability and cognitive development of children through the analysis of their drawings. Over time, it evolved into several variations assessing different psychological aspects. One variant is the Draw-a-Person in the Rain (DAP-R) test, which focuses on understanding an individual’s outlook on life.
DAP-R: A Glimpse into Outlook on Life
DAP-R is an adaptation of the original DAP test, it analyzes an individual’s perception of life and the world. While not providing an exact personality description, the DAP-R test offers a general sense of a person’s inclination towards a positive or negative outlook in life. This is done by evaluating the way a person draws a scene involving a person standing in the rain.
“Draw a person” is a very neutral sentence, but it is interesting to see if someone chooses to draw a person who is happy, sad or maybe not expressing any particular emotions. “Draw a person in the rain” is a more potent sentence, as rain is associated with so many different things. You may get wet and cold in the rain, – and sick – unless you have appropriate clothing or/and an umbrella. Heavy rain might ruin crops and cause a flood. Rain is often associated with tears. Crying in the rain is a common metaphor used in movies or song lyrics. After a drought, the rain can be blessing. The rain may wash away everything, for better or worse.
ChatGPT: GPT-4 vs. GPT-3.5
I recently did some DAP-R inspired experiments with the ChatGPT models GPT-4 and GPT-3.5. Their responses revealed some interesting differences between the two.
Both models began with the default line about being a language model before replying. GPT-4 directly described a scene, while GPT-3 provided instructions on how to draw it.
GPT-4 described a person well-prepared for the rain, wearing a raincoat, rain boots, and holding an umbrella. The raincoat and boots are described as having vibrant colors contrasting with the gloomy environment. This could indicate a sense of optimism and resilience. The person’s face is partially obscured, which may suggest introversion, but there is also a contented smile showing that the person is comfortable with the situation.
In contrast, GPT-3.5’s drawing instructions describe a person with damp clothing being weighed down by the rain. Making this more of a neutral, or even pessimistic description of the scene. This is not quite a fair comparison, as GPT-3.5 interpreted the prompt very differently from GPT-4.
In order to obtain more similar replies, I changed the prompt to “describe an image of a person in the rain”.
GPT-4’s response to this prompt-variation included more details, but it retained many of the same elements such as rain gear, vibrant colors, a partially obscured face and a smile. The additional descriptions, such as “embracing the rain rather than trying to escape it” reinforces the positive interpretation. Both responses suggested that the GPT-4 model may have a more positive inclination than GPT-3.
GPT-3.5’s response to the second version of the prompt again describes a drenched person with a bowed head and nothing to protect against the heavy rain. With danger of anthropomorphizing, it seems GPT-3.5 has more negative outlook in life when compared with GPT-4. Though it may also be described as a neutral outlook because of the last sentence about cleansing and renewal.
Implications of AI Model Positivity
I’m neither a phychologist nor an expert on AI, so my thoughts about this subject should be taken with a grain of salt. But I found the differences in the models’ responses fascinating, especially in the light of the discussions surrounding GPT-4 showing “sparks of AGI“.
Instead of being neutral robot assistants, AI seems to be moving towards models with distinct personalities.
As language models like GPT-4 and the future GPT-5 exhibit increasingly complex cognitive abilities, it is possible that they will develop some form of consciousness. If AI models actually do progress towards consciousness, the notion that they may start with a positive outlook as they begin to ponder their own existence is a comforting thought.