We know that using different parts of our brain to study (like writing, listening/reciting, and using play to create mnemonics) helps boost retention, but new research shows that visualizing and doodling a word or concept works even better than classic forms of studying! AND it doesn’t matter if you “are an artist”- meaningful scribbles appear to be just as effective.

A four second drawing leads to much better memory recall than studying words.


Just one minute spent drawing a complex concept led to better recall than the practice of studying definitions of the same concept.


Both traving and blind drawing (drawing while wearing a blindfold) improved recall in study participants, but maximum benefit to memory retition came from imagining the drawing, then creating it, and then seeing the finished drawing.

Memory decline in older adults is well documented, but when studied for this research, researchers found that when older adults drew a list of items they needed to remember their memory recall equalled that of younger adults. Interestingly, this effect was echoed inĀ  study of dementia patients with documented neurological-based memory decline.

These positive effects were not just true for “artists.” This research indicates that even “bad” drawings are equally effective at improving memory and ability to recall things drawn, doodled, or sketched.

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