Mar 4, 2009

doodle your way to a better memory

Doodling isn't a distraction, it's a memory aid. Really:
40 members of the research panel of the Medical Research Council's Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge were asked to listen to a two and a half minute tape giving several names of people and places, and were told to write down only the names of people going to a party. 20 of the participants were asked to shade in shapes on a piece of paper at the same time, but paying no attention to neatness. Participants were not asked to doodle naturally so that they would not become self-conscious. None of the participants were told it was a memory test.

After the tape had finished, all participants in the study were asked to recall the eight names of the party-goers which they were asked to write down, as well as eight additional place names which were included as incidental information. The doodlers recalled on average 7.5 names of people and places compared to only 5.8 by the non-doodlers.

"If someone is doing a boring task, like listening to a dull telephone conversation, they may start to daydream," said study researcher Professor Jackie Andrade, Ph.D., of the School of Psychology, University of Plymouth. "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."
I'm not surprised; in fact, I've asked students to doodle while I've read excerpts from essays or stories, since I found it allowed them to better concentrate on the task at hand. It's nice to have science backing me up.

[via Futurepundit and Instapundit]


ldn00b said...

Does this mean it's no longer rude to draw on ur flow in the 2ar?

Jim Anderson said...

You're trying to memorize your opponent's rebuttal?!

(Short answer: No.)