Distracted Doodling Helps Us Focus, Study Shows

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 27, 2009 5:50 PM CST
A doodle to mark National Doodle Day in London.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Doodling while listening actually increases retention of memory, LiveScience reports. A new study shows that subjects who “mindlessly” sketched while listening to a not-so-interesting phone message remembered key facts 29% more than others instructed to just listen. “It helps to keep us on track with a boring task,” a researcher affiliated with the study said.

“If someone is doing a boring task, like listening to a dull telephone conversation, they may start to daydream,” the researcher continued. “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.” (Read more attention stories.)