Doodle Away: Exploring the Effects of Doodling on Recall Ability of High School Students

  •  Deekshita Sundararaman    


Doodling is often misinterpreted as a distraction to students in an academic setting– a hindrance to learning. However, recent research has shown that doodling may be beneficial to learning and memory retention. The current study expands upon previous research by investigating the impact of structured and unstructured doodling on auditory recall. This experiment was designed using a multi-method quantitative approach with an experiment that consisted of a control, structured doodling, and unstructured doodling group, and a questionnaire to assess students’ doodling experience. A group of 39 high school juniors were chosen for this study. In all three conditions, students listened to a history lecture in their normal classroom circumstances and took a quiz over the information afterward. Students doodled in both experimental conditions– they shaded a structured doodling sheet in the first condition and doodled in a blank, white A4 sheet in the second condition. The results indicated that those in the structured and unstructured doodling group performed significantly better than those in the control group, with structured doodling scoring the highest out of the three. The Post Doodling Questionnaire indicated that the majority of students experienced less daydreaming and increased recall while doodling; furthermore, the majority of students reported doodling naturalistically.

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