Saturday, March 14, 2009


Like most office workers, I know at least one colleague who loves to doodle. I know quite a few people (not mentioning any names!) who love to relieve their boredom by doodling the hours away at meetings. I've seen the artistic little drawings on their notepads to prove it! Doodles are quite an interesting art form, a product of our subconscious mind and many psychologists say that studying them can reveal quite a lot about a person. Many famous people love to doodle, including the late Richard Nixon and Bill Gates. Doodling is regarded by many as the height of rudeness and bad manners, especially when done whilst someone is speaking to you. It usually sends the message to the other person that you are bored and disinterested in what they are saying. Not a good message to be sending, especially if it's the boss who's doing the talking!

However according to new research from the University of Plymouth, doodling is good exercise for the brain and actually helps to actively improve memory recall and aids concentration by keeping the mind focused. Apparently when people are bored, their minds start to wander and they daydream. However doodling is a way to stop them from dreaming and keep them focused on the task in hand. A leading psychologist from the university says that far from being frowned upon, doodling should be actively encouraged, particularly at meetings. To prove his point, the professor led a study, where a group of people were asked to listen to a tape of a boring telephone message whilst doodling. The message mentioned the names of people who had been invited to a party. A random test was done to see how much the participants could remember. The doodlers did very well and managed to recall details of those people who were attending the party and also their names. Their power of recall was much better than that of the participants who listened to the message and weren't occupied doodling. The research was undertaken in connection with National Doodle Day. Hundreds of celebrities including Ricky Gervais (from The Office) have created doodles, which will be auctioned online to raise money for charity. So there you go! Maybe doodling to relieve boredom isn't such a bad thing after all and could help us all to improve our memories!


SandyCarlson said...

You made my day. I encourage my students to doodle in class and to draw to get them to the answers they need. I am going to follow up on this with your post.

Kyle and Svet Keeton said...

Hi Naomi,

Thank you very much for the interesting article. I never was able to draw but do doodle always when I talk by phone or sit in the meeting.

My doodles are very easy some flowers or math symbols, very primitive faces sometimes.

When I was a student I always wrote for a professor.. now when there is not that important information on the meetings I still gave pan in my hand.. ;).

So glad you are back!

Best wishes,

Naomi said...

Glad you enjoyed the post Sandy. I think the research is very interesting. I know so many people at work who doodle!

Many people doodle when they are on the phone or in meetings Kyle and Svet. It's a good way to ease boredom. It's nice to be back!

Janey Loree said...

Hi Naomi! Now I know why I doodle and have tried to curtail it so as not to appear rude!! This is a very interesting post. Stop by Notes That Touch The Heart when you get a chance again to check out my latest post inspired by this post!!! When is National Doodle Day?

Naomi said...

Hi Janey

Nice to see you on the Blogosphere again. Glad you enjoyed the post. National Doodle Day is 27th February. It's a nationwide event which raise funds for epilepsy and neurofibromatosis. I'm on my way over to Notes now!