Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Doodle Revolution

In 1996, Switzerland hosted the World Economic Forum. Topics such as the oil crisis and other global issues were discussed by the world’s top leaders. At the end of the conference, a doodle drawn by former prime minister, Tony Blair, was found. The doodle was psychoanalyzed by graphologists who claimed Blair was aggressive and unstable. The media and public were in an outrage, because it appeared that Blair was trivializing the serious issues by doodling. In the end, the doodle ended up belonging to Bill Gates.

For the most part, doodling has been given a bad rap. It’s perceived as inappropriate behavior in almost any learning environment as well as most businesses. Sunni Brown, leader of The Doodle Revolution and author of Game Storming, is working hard to change this cultural bias.

Brown argues that people doodling are actually paying more attention. They are doing it as a pre-emptive measure to stop from losing focus. Research has proven that information is retained more efficiently when combining stimuli. Doodling helps because you are engaging four types of stimulation: visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic. Several studies are also starting to pop up supporting Brown’s opinion. Jackie Andrade, a professor at the University of Plymouth, published a study finding a 29 percent increase in information retention gained by doodlers.

As a fellow doodler, it’s comforting to know that there are others out there who process information the same way I do. You can watch Brown discuss and defend doodlers in her recent TED talk here.

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