Gibson, Ellen. "How a Doodle Saves Your Noodle." Businessweek April 6, 2009, p. 18.
"Often viewed as a sign of a wandering mind, doodling may actually help us absorb information. In a study published in Applied Cognitive Psychology, Jackie Andrade at Britain's University of Plymouth played a rambling voice-mail message to 40 people, half of whom were given shapes to fill in as they listened. The result: The doodlers recalled 29% more of the message than those who just listened. Andrade says idle scribbling uses just enough cognitive bandwidth to prevent daydreaming, so it may help us stay focused. One boardroom doodler, retiring GM Vice-Chairman Bob Lutz, says he isn't surprised by the finding. "I can look at old sketches done in meetings 40 years ago," he says, "and experience sudden recall of the room, the table, the voices."(Gibson, 18)
(Source: sketchbook #8, May 10, 2009)
I've written here about my tendency to draw or write during church so that I am able to listen fully. When I saw the above quote about cognitive bandwidth, it all made sense. Without my hands moving, my mind tends to wander to the most wonderful places, so if you are giving a talk or a sermon and I am drawing: Congratulations! I am listening closely.