An Indian Civilizational Perspective

Doodling and Concentration

Art is not about thinking something up. It is the opposite — getting something down. ~ JULIA CAMERON

Doodling is probably the most common activity in most corporate meetings. Some are boring, some tiring, but the doodling carries on! What does Doodle mean and how did it come about?[1]

Its ultimate derivation is likely from the Low German dudeldopp, meaning “fool” or “simpleton”. (High) German variants of the etymon include Dudeltopf, Dudentopf, Dudenkopf, Dude and Dödel. American English dude may be a derivation of doodle.

Doodles have had their art value also. many US presidents have doodled which have been collectibles. You can check out some doodles by the rich, powerful and the famous!

Doodles help in Concentrating

Jackie Andrade, a cognitive psychologist at University of Plymouth in UK has done a study with 40 volunteers.[2]

Andrade asked 40 volunteers to listen to a monotonous two-and-a-half minute telephone message and jot down the names of people who had been invited to a party. Half of the participants were asked to shade in shapes on a piece of paper while they listened to relieve the boredom. The shading task was chosen instead of more creative doodling because it was less likely to make people feel self-conscious. After hearing the recorded message, the volunteers were given a surprise memory test to see how much of it they could remember. The script of the message mentioned eight names of people who could make the party, three who could not and eight place names.

It was found that the doodlers remembered the names of people attending the meeting much better. The difference was 29% better!

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Anna Koren is a foremost graphology expert and has done interpretation on the meaning of different symbols in drawing/sketching and doodling.

Some of the meanings of what different things mean is also shared here: Random Abstract Shapes, Three D Boxes (which I draw a lot!), Stars hearts etc.. For more such symbols. Go here.

That just means that doodle is not just a waste of time.

Reference Links:

1. Doodle
2. Doodling should be encouraged in boring meetings, claims psychologist

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