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Jackie Andrade of the School of Psychology at the University of Plymouth in the UK, wanted to know if doodling improves or hinders one’s attention to a primary task. To find out, she created a study in which 40 participants were asked to listen to a rambling telephone message about a planned birthday party. Participants were divided into two groups – a control group and a doodling group. The doodling group was placed into a “doodling condition” (Andrade, 2009) where they were given a pencil to shade squares and circles on a sheet of paper while listening to the phone message. The control group did not receive materials for doodling. All participants were asked to recall information about who would be attending the birthday party.

Andrade’s results indicate that doodlers recalled 29% more information than the participants in the control group. This study is the first test of the idea that doodling aids concentration. Andrade proposes that doodling may be enough of a stimulus to prevent boredom and reduce the likelihood of daydreaming.

To research these findings further, Andrade says additional research is necessary to understand boredom, daydreaming, and the activities that alleviate these conditions.


QUESTION TO YOU:
Do you doodle? If so, when do you doodle? (on the phone, in class, in front of the TV, etc.)



Literature Cited

Andrade, Jackie. 2009. What does doodling do? Applied Cognitive Psychology 24: 100-106. Published online 27 February 2009 in Wiley InterScience at Wiley.com. Purchase Article ($35)

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