The survey, whose results are due to be published shortly, was carried out by System Three for the Scottish Arts Council. It found that girls are involved in a greater variety of arts activities than boys and attend more arts-related events both in or through school and in their own time.
Boys, however, were about equally interested in playing a musical instrument but more likely to be part of a pop band.
The results also show a social divide: children at the top end of the scale are more intent on reading and playing musical instruments in school and attending events in their own time, while youngsters at the lower end are more interested in computer graphics, film, drawing and drama at school as well as attending events in school time.
The survey covered 1,501 representative pupils in 55 secondary schools. It revealed that 52 per cent of boys took no part in organised extra-curricular arts activities.
Unveiling the results at last week's conference on children and the arts (page 6), Tony Costley, director of System Three, said: "Girls were also far more willing to take part in arts activities or events in their own time. Moreover, where boys did take part the focus was much narrower, rock music and computer graphics being the two main areas."
The survey did show boys outstripping girls in some extra-curricular activities, such as reading a whole novel or book of poems (15 per cent boys to 12 per cent girls) and playing a musical instrument on their own (15 per cent boys to 12 per cent girls). This will reinforce arguments that boys respond better in a more structured and directed learning environment.