Doodling Engages the Mind, Stimulates Thinking


Recognizing National Doodle Day

When stuck in a long meeting or on a phone call, many people pick up a pen and start doodling. Some people think doodlers aren’t paying attention, but research shows the opposite. Doodling actually helps people think.

Brain Stimulation
Doodling can increase focus and memory, according to a study reported in Applied Cognitive Psychology. For instance, 30 percent of participants who listened to recordings of names and places while doodling were able to recall more details than non-doodlers.

Live Science reports that doodling helps students visualize material and improves comprehension during a lecture. In comparison, using laptops or smartphones to record lecture notes had the opposite effect. Students using digital devices were more easily distracted to do other things, such as texting.

Interpreting Doodles
Doodles can provide insights into the person creating them.

  • Style –The doodle technique communicates information about a person’s mood and well-being:
    • Short, light or sketchy lines indicate sensitivity.
    • Long, firm strokes show determination and strength.
    • Strokes that create grooves in the paper can indicate frustration, obsession or preoccupation with a problem.
    • Heavy shading or crisscrossed strokes can be signs of depression or worry.
    • Lines or objects drawn in rows or a grid shows a desire for order and control.
    • Disorderly drawings represent a desire for freedom in decisions.
  • Shapes – Lines and shapes can indicate the doodler’s personality:
    • Straight lines show strong willpower, self-control and need for facts.
    • Curved strokes show flexibility, imagination and emotion.
    • Circles, rounded shapes or symbols of love indicate the desire for harmony and love.
    • Square shapes, flat surfaces or symbols of material security, such as doors, walls or fences, indicate the doodler is down-to-earth and practical.
    • Triangles, pointed shapes and symbols of masculinity, such as stars, arrows, fences and spires, show the person is determined and releasing mental and physical energy.

Doodlers who want to demonstrate their creativity may be interested in exploring apps that have been created for tablets and smartphones.

Huffington Post
Live Science
New York Post
National Doodle Day – Doodle Meanings
About.com – Doodle Analysis and Interpretation