Forget Something? Draw It First

I forgot what I was going to write about.

Oh, yeah.  I should have drawn it.

A new study says if you need to remember something, forget the memorizing of the first letters of the word it starts with -- like, you want to get apples so think America or accessories (my favorite), to put the "A" in your mind, and hopefully, you will link it with apples when you go to the grocery store.  Oh, wait.  The word for that is mnemonic.

 Researchers at the University of Waterloo have found that drawing pictures of information that needs to be remembered is a strong and reliable strategy to enhance memory.

"We pitted drawing against a number of other known encoding strategies, but drawing always came out on top," said the study's lead author, Jeffrey Wammes, PhD candidate in the Department of Psychology, at newswise.com. "We believe that the benefit arises because drawing helps to create a more cohesive memory trace that better integrates visual, motor and semantic information."

I think that probably means that drawing it makes it stick in your mind.

Student participants were given a list of simple, easily drawn words, such as "apple." The students were given 40 seconds to either draw the word, or write it out repeatedly. They were then given a filler task of classifying musical tones to facilitate the retention process. Finally, the researchers asked students to freely recall as many words as possible from the initial list in just 60 seconds.

"We discovered a significant recall advantage for words that were drawn as compared to those that were written," said Wammes. "Participants often recalled more than twice as many drawn than written words. We labelled this benefit 'the drawing effect,' which refers to this distinct advantage of drawing words relative to writing them out."

In variations of the experiment in which students drew the words repeatedly, or added visual details to the written letters, such as shading or other doodles, the results remained unchanged. Memory for drawn words was superior to all other alternatives. Drawing led to better later memory performance than listing physical characteristics, creating mental images, and viewing pictures of the objects depicted by the words.

So if you forget what you were going to remember (like me), guess you're out of luck.












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