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Doodling makes you pay attention

An article published on Time.com offers some insight into doodling. Having been in lectures for most my life, and prone to doodling, its nice to get some reinforcement on my study techniques. šŸ™‚ Excerpts from the article are below, click the heading to get the full article.

Study: Doodling Helps You Pay Attention

“In her small but rigorous study, Andrade separated 40 participants into two groups of 20. All 40 had just finished an unrelated psychological experiment, and many were thinking of going home (or to the pub). They were asked, instead, whether they wouldn’t mind spending another five minutes helping with research. The participants were led into a quiet room and then asked to listen to a two-and-a-half-minute tape that they were told would be “rather dull.”


Afterward, the papers were removed and the 40 volunteers were asked to recall, verbally, the place names and the names of the people coming to the party. The doodlers creamed the non-doodlers: those who doodled during the tape recalled 7.5 pieces of information (out of the 16 total) on average, 29% more than the average of 5.8 recalled by the control group.

Why does doodling aid memory? Andrade offers several theories, but the most persuasive is that when you doodle, you don’t daydream. Daydreaming may seem absentminded and pointless, but it actually demands a lot of the brain’s processing power. You start daydreaming about a vacation, which leads you to think about potential destinations, how you would pay for the trip, whether you could get the flight upgraded, how you might score a bigger hotel room. These cognitions require what psychologists call “executive functioning” ā€” for example, planning for the future and comparing costs and benefits.”

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