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Doodle your way to better memory

(Ivanhoe Newswire) - Next time you're forced to listen to someone drone on and on in a boring meeting, feel free to doodle.

According to British investigators who tested the ability of people to remember names and places mentioned during a boring telephone conversation, those who were assigned to a doodling task outperformed those who were not.

"If someone is doing a boring task, like listening to a dull telephone conversation, they may start to daydream," study author Jackie Andrade, Ph.D., from the school of psychology at the University of Plymouth, was quoted as saying. "Daydreaming distracts them from the task, resulting in poorer performance. A simple task, like doodling, may be sufficient to stop daydreaming without affecting performance on the main task."

The research involved 40 members of a research panel who listened to a two and a half minute phone conversation about people going to a party. Half were assigned to the doodling task. Following the conversation, all were asked to remember eight names of people cited as attending the party as well as eight places noted in the talk. People who doodled recalled an average of 7.5 names and places while people who did not doodle remembered only 5.8.

"This study," continues Dr. Andrade, "suggests that in everyday life doodling may be something we do because it helps to keep us on track with a boring task, rather than being an unnecessary distraction that we should try to resist doing."

SOURCE: Applied Cognitive Psychology, published online February 26, 2009

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