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By Ramona Morris
Assistant Editor - Content Operations
Ever been called out for doodling during a meeting? Or maybe had a teacher snatch away a page of doodles, because they were convinced you hadn’t been paying attention?
Those chastisers were misinformed.
Doodling intensifies concentration. What looks like meaningless squiggles and rude behavior to others is actually a doodler actively engaged in listening – and they're probably listening more intently than those who aren’t doodling1.
This isn’t just a hopeful doodler’s passionate cry for understanding: current research supports doodlers! A study found that “the effects of doodling on the academic and artistic learning of K-12 students … can increase focus and memory retention … relieve stress … and enhance creativity and imagination”2. For young doodlers seeking additional empowerment, a ProQuest elibrary blog for K-12 students offers pertinent research and support3.
But, doodling can be a powerful tool for adults as well. A 2014 segment on CBS’s "Sunday Morning," The Higher Purpose of Doodling4, offers great visuals and information on how doodlers operate:
-- Sunni Brown, author of the book The Doodle Revolution: Unlock the Power to Think Differently, discusses how doodling engages the mind in such a way that it helps us think. She believes that her “info-doodles” can help in problem-solving and memory retention.
-- Andrew Silton, over a 30-year career in asset management, used his complex and very detailed doodles as a way to stay engaged in meetings – a method to keep him from thinking “about other stuff."
-- Jackie Andrade published the results of a study in Applied Cognitive Psychology, which found that doodlers remembered 29% more details than those who did not doodle.5
So, the next time someone catches you doodling during a work meeting or in the classroom, calmly assure the accuser that all is well. You’re doodling your way to success!
Do some more myth-busting of your own by searching the ProQuest resources for K12 through post-doc education and psychology:
1. Kercood, Suneeta; Banda, Devender R. “The Effects of Added Physical Activity on Performance during a Listening Comprehension Task for Students with and without Attention Problems.” International Journal of Applied Educational Studies 13:1 (2012): 19-32.
2. Aquino, Vicky Faye B. The Effects of Doodling on the Academic and Artistic Learning of K-12 Students. MA thesis. The University of the Arts, 2013. Pennsylvania.
3. Sheehan, Rhonda. “Doodling: It Does a Brain Good.” ProQuest elibrary. 30 Sept. 2014
5. Andrade, Jackie. “What Does Doodling Do?” Applied Cognitive Psychology 24:1 (2010).