People who doodle are smart - they pay more attention and remember things better than those who do not doodle. That's the scientific result of a study done by Professor Jackie Andrade, of the School of Psychology at the University of Plymouth and published by the magazine Applied Cognitive Psychology. The test also showed that fidgeting has the same positive effect. So the next time you're doodling during a meeting — or twirling a pencil or playing with your hair in class and you hear the teacher ask "Are you paying attention?", you can say in truth that you have heard every word!
The idea that a doodler or fidgeter is a poor student or listener is a total myth that has come down to us through the 300 year history of the word "doodle". It all started in 17th century Germany where the word "dudeldopp" was used to describe a fool or simpleton. "Dudeldopp" had variations like "dudeltopf, dudentopf, and dödel". The British had their own word "dawdle" which means wasting time or being lazy. British soldiers mixed the German "dudel" with the English "dawdle" when they sang "Yankee Doodle" during the American War of Independence (1775-1783). Ever since that time, the word "doodle" or the practice of "doodling" has been branded by society as equal to "fooling around" or "wasting time". God only knows how much potential artistic talent has been lost or discouraged due to this 300 year old myth!
Many famous people have been doodlers. John Keats drew flowers in his medical school books, Ralph Waldo Emerson decorated his compositions at Harvard University with doodles like people and fish swimming, and ornamental scrolls saying that they helped him concentrate on his work. The famous mathematician, Stanislaw Ulam has claimed that he discovered the solution known as the "Ulam Spiral" while doodling at an academic conference. But why does doodling increase attention, concentration, and memory recall?
Doodling keeps you from daydreaming, which researchers say throws the mind off into a totally different track. Doodling engages the two halves of the brain on a concrete task that keeps it from leaving the focus of what is being said or presented in real life - it forces your brain to use just enough energy to stop it from daydreaming but not so much that you don't pay attention.
To prove this, Professor Andrade and her university teachers set up a series of memory tests on volunteers. They were all asked to listen to a boring, fake 2.5 minute rambling voice-mail message inviting the listener to a 21st-birthday party where names and places were mentioned. Before the tape began, half the volunteers were asked to shade in some little squares and circles on a piece of paper while they listened. They were told not to worry about being neat or quick about it. Professor Andrade did not instruct this half to doodle. The other 20 didn't "doodle". All the participants were asked to write down the names of those coming to the party while the tape played, which meant the doodlers switched between their doodles and their lists. The results from all the tests were clear - the doodlers on average recalled 7.5 names, while the non-doodlers only managed 5.8 names.
Fidgeting - like twirling or chewing a pencil or playing with your hair - seems to have the same positive memory effects. But when you are sitting in class or a meeting with pencil and paper in hand, doodling just seems to be the most natural way to "fidget". So if you are a doodler, don't stop - it really is good for you and it could just make you famous!
A new *FREE* draw & color feature… and a contest!
The image above shows the new feature www.timtim.com/coloring/drawing is launching in early April. It’s a fantastic online drawing and coloring tool that allows anyone to draw as they please, or choose timtim drawings to color or change as they like. It also will have dot-dot drawings to do online as well as other activities.
The new feature needs no log-in and it is all free for kids, parents, and teachers everywhere. Why don't you get smart and doodle a bit? And if you want to share those doodles with the world, just log-in to timtim and upload your doodle to the growing database of drawings on timtim? It is so easy and fun. Just LOG-IN or SIGN UP and add your profile and link to your own blog or website for all the world to see.
But no log-in is needed to use the timtim online drawing and coloring feature to just doodle and get smart!
Google has announced its 4th annual "Doodle For Google" contest. Schools must register and teachers should submit the artwork of their student to Google. The theme is "What I wish for the World". Finalists will be able to see their doodle featured on Google's homepage for a day and they have the chance to win prizes like a college scholarship or a grant for their school. All the finalist's doodles will be displayed in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D. C.
TIMTIM.COM is a free-use site of thousands of color and B&W cartoon-style drawings organized by more than 50 different subjects ranging from holidays, jobs, nature, animals, transportation, computers, religion, environment, health, travel, geography and more. The site is recommended by the American and Canadian Teachers Federation and use of the drawings is free for non-commercial purposes.