While Hillary Clinton listened to talks about global security and the Middle East during a Security Council meeting at the U.N, she was seen jotting angrily on her discourse in front of her.
Was she writing down some fresh comments, adapting crucial parts of her speech or preparing questions that she required answers to? No, she was doodling. This was spread crosswise over daily newspapers over the entire world, shown as proof for her lack of attention during complex political discussions.
But doodling isn’t actually an activity which hinders listening and it certainly doesn’t stop someone from developing creative ideas. Even though doodling is not the most common research phenomena, some researchers began examining how doodling improves cognitive performance. They especially focus on memory retention, listening capability as well as creativity and found some astonishing results. Therefore, if you catch yourself doodling, don’t get upset about being unproductive: you are actually doing something useful.
Let’s hear a doodle practitioner:
According to Sunni Brow, co-author of Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers and Changemakers, doodling can enhance dramatically your problem solving skills.
In her TED talk she explains why she has a serious problem with the perception that doodling is nonsense.
Brown instructs people on how to doodle and how to get inspired by and profit from the visual information that surrounds us during work and at home. Unfortunately she encounters much more resistance than she expected.
Why is that so? One of the reasons is that doodling has a bad reputation. People think of doodlers as being non-intellectual and not being willing to engage in serious learning. Another reason derives from experiencing only small to no beneficial outcomes when doodling and therefore considering it as a waste of time.
So is that true? What does Science say:
Scholars interest in the phenomena of doodling has increased in the past years. One of the most known studies is a study conducted at the University of Plymouth by J. Andrade titled “What Does Doodling do?” The study accomplished to provide evidence for the positive impact of doodling, art and sketching. All those techniques increased the understanding and comprehension of problems of the test subjects and also help them being more creative.
The research study split forty test subjects into two distinct groups, which received a mock monotonous phone call. One group was permitted to doodle while the other was not.
The group that was granted to doodle had to shade shapes that were printed out. The mock telephone message required test subjects to oversee the names of people coming to a party. Both groups were tested later on by a surprise memory test.
The doodling group did a much better job at overseeing people’s names and recalled 29% more information than the group that was not permitted to doodle.
Three benefits from doodling:
- Long-term Focus. Doodling not only helps you adhere to important tasks, but it also keeps your concentration up while being in lasting discussions or important phone calls. Just jot down some sketches and use them to mirror the things you are hearing or thinking. It doesn’t matter if the sketches are bizzare or have nothing to do with what the meeting is about, but by continuously doodling you can keep yourself from losing focus and it helps recalling the conversation later on.
- Enhanced Creativity. Doodling improves your ability to find novel and creative solutions to complex problem statements. The task is thought to arouse specific parts of the brain that support you in parsing information differently. Sunni Brown says that, even if you are sketching some weird stuff in your notebook, “you are lighting up different networks in the brain” and “engaging different information”. This enables you to withhold ideas just before they slip through your fingertips, allowing you retain and realize more eureka moments.
- Precise Problem-Solving. Doodling can help you better overcome crucial challenges. Usually the assignment of important business projects causes oneself to get stressed and less receptive for new information, resulting in convergent thinking and forgetting urgent issues. By sketching or scribbling your thoughts and feelings, you not only use information processing time more efficiently, but you also capture and formulate the problem in a much more precise and tangible way. Giving your brain a valve to free spontaneous and unconscious creativity, increases the ability to better monitor the initial challenge.
Doodles can be anything from words, text, images or signatures. Continuously repeated they emerge to abstract patterns and scribbles, representing our inner sentiments. So next time your concentration runs low, consider taking paper and pen to their fullest potential. They will bring your focus and creativity back up to unknown highs.