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. (Wall Street Journal, 29 July 2014)
Doodling can affect how we process information and solve problems, here are some insights that Sunni Brown shared about the art of doodling:
Doodling elevates focus and concentration. That person in the meeting doodling away in the margins of their notebook and seemingly not paying attention to the speaker? Well, they are actually more attuned and clearly focused on the points being explained, as doodling helps to keep the brain active by engaging its default networks in the cerebral cortex.
Doodlers remember more and have a higher capacity for information retention. Thus, we should really be encouraging this practice-from childhood through adulthood- and especially as adults where in our everyday worlds we feel stressed and overextended.
Doodling deepens knowledge exploration. The brain synapses that are distinctively ignited when you put pen to paper in a random, meandering sort of walk- parallels the type of exploratory thinking we need to do to innovate on a consistent basis.
Doodling allows different access to problem solving and insights because it is not linear, but rather associative. It actually helps with the abductive thinking process that is key in design thinking.
The Big Picture
Doodling encourages awareness of the big picture. This is an essential skill set in developing a strategy- whether for a corporate takeover or figuring out what to cook for dinner.
Think Beyond the Expected
Doodling helps us to break away from habitual thinking patterns. The brain prefers stable patterns: for example, we want to know what to do with a doorknob each time we see one- not tinker with it! The downside of habitual thinking patterns is that when we get too comfortable with patterns or stereotypes we get really bad at recognising subtle nuances.
Doodling exercises our pure imagination and therefore our creativity. Specifically, our perceptual creativity gets enhanced; that is, our ability to recombine and see the familiar in new, reorganised ways.
"Doodling has given corporations unimaginable insights into their businesses. It’s given individuals new leases on life.” So pick up a pen, grab a piece of paper, and get to Doodlin!" ~ Sunni Brown
See Sunni Brown’s TED Talk “Doodler’s, Unite!”
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