Doodling ‘helps with memory’

Doodling signals boredom and lack of attention but scribbling on a piece of paper while someone is talking actually helps one to remember the details.

Written by Agencies | London | Published:February 27, 2009 12:50 pm

Doodling may be considered a bad habit but it’s neither rude nor messy – instead,it’s a sign of an alert mind as it helps with memory,says a new study.

Researchers have found that doodling signals boredom and lack of attention but scribbling on a piece of paper while someone is talking actually helps one to remember the details of what one is told,the British media reported.

According to lead researcher Professor Jackie Andrade of the University of Plymouth,”If someone is doing a boring task,like listening to a dull telephone conversation,they may start to daydream.

“Daydreaming distracts them from the task,resulting in poorer performance. A simple task,like doodling,may be sufficient to stop daydreaming without affecting performance on the main task.

“This study suggests that in everyday life doodling may be something we do because it helps to keep us on track with a boring task,rather than being an unnecessary distraction that we should try to resist doing.”

In fact,the researchers have based their findings on an analysis of an experiment in which volunteers were asked to shade in shapes while listening to a dull telephone message – they found that the subjects recalled 29 per cent more details than those told not to draw.

And,after the two-and-a half minute tape was finished they were asked to recall the eight names of people who were going to a party and the eight names of places from a list on the recording.

The doodlers remembered an average of 7.5 names of people and places compared to 5.8 of non-doodlers,according to the findings,published in ‘Applied Cognitive Psychology’ Journal’s latest issue.

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