Recent research in neuroscience, psychology and design shows that doodling can help people stay focused, grasp new concepts and retain information. A blank page also can serve as an extended playing field for the brain, allowing people to revise and improve on creative thoughts and ideas.
Doodles are spontaneous marks that can take many forms, from abstract patterns or designs to images of objects, landscapes, people or faces. Some people doodle by retracing words or letters, but doodling doesn’t include note-taking. ‘It’s a thinking tool,’ says Sunni Brown, an Austin, Texas, author of a new book, ‘The Doodle Revolution.’ It can affect how we process information and solve problems, she says.
The Doodle Revolution! Yes!
I doodled my way through my education — always abstract patterns, usually a kind of cross-hatching — and almost never took notes. This puzzled my teachers, but I always remembered what I heard in class better when I doodled.
When I was in college, I spent an entire semester developing an immensely intricate doodle on the back of one of my notebooks. When I finally filled in the last corner, on the last day of class, I sat back and looked with satisfaction on my achievement. Then I felt a tap on my shoulder. A guy who had been sitting behind me all term said, “I’ll give you five bucks for that.” So I carefully tore off the back cover and exchanged it for his fiver. We both went away happy.