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Doodling could help memory recall

27th February 2009

UK research carried out by Plymouth University has revealed that doodles may in fact show that the brain is alert.

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The study performed tests on 40 people and requested that they listened to a telephone call and then asked them to remember names and places.

The researchers discovered that people who doodled had 29% more recall than people who did not doodle.

People who doodle prevent themselves from thinking about other things and as a result it helps them to concentrate on everyday jobs.

Half the participants were requested to perform the colouring-in of shapes drawn on a sheet of paper as they heard a two-and-a-half minute phone message.

The remaining half were not asked to do anything while they heard the message. The two groups were informed that the phone call they were about to hear would not be interesting.
  
Once the call was finished the participants were requested to write eight names and places they heard.

The people who doodled remembered an average of 7.5, while those who did not remembered only 5.8.

Lead researcher Jackie Andrade said: "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 poor performance."

"A simple task, like doodling, may be sufficient to stop daydreaming without affecting performance on the main task."

Professor Alan Badeley, from the British Psychological Society, said: "Doodling is a relatively undemanding task so this makes sense."


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