What Doodling Really does for the Brain
By Sophie Carey
Some of us just can’t sit still while we take our notes in class. For example, some fidget with their pens or pencils. There are, however, pros to some of these habits. Doodling has been found to increase the amount of information that someone has learned in class. Jackie Andrade of the University of Plymouth conducted a study that was able to support this claim. Two groups of 20 students listened to the same ‘mundane’ phone call in order to test how much of it the content they could remember. One group was instructed to draw marks on their paper while they listened. The group that was instructed to doodle was found to have remembered 29% more of the information in the phone call than the group that wasn’t allowed to doodle, which was labeled as the control group.
Doodling can help the brain to process different forms of information, benefitting both attention and memory. Brock University professor Giulia Forsythe describes doodling as “a form of external thought and can assist in problem solving”.
Another conjoined study by professors at Deaklin University, University of Nottingham, and La Trobe encouraged students to draw during their lecture and assigned readings. The students felt more engaged in the activities and actually enjoyed them. They were able to retain more of the knowledge if they had doodled.
Of course, doodling isn’t for everyone. Whether it be that they aren’t good at drawing, or they simply don’t find doodling effective. This doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t able to remember as much, but the studies stated above further support the concept of doodling notes during class and its effect on the brain. The studies used today don’t provide full closure on the effects of doodling on learning, attention, and memory, but it is important for our creative minds to be exposed to as much freedom as we can while still keeping our studies of high priority. You should never judge a friend who doodles in class without knowing as to whether or not it helps them. As long as one is still able to participate in class and use the lesson correctly, it’s wrong to think that doodling is the harmful to learning.
Cloud, John. “Study: Doodling Helps You Pay Attention.” Time, Time Inc., 26 Feb. 2009, content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1882127,00.html.
“Keep Calm and Doodle On.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/ blogs/education/2014/07/keep-calm-and-doodle-on/.