Artist Charles Burcheld says, “It should not be assumed that doodling has no value. True, most doodles are trivial and meaningless, or worse are burningly repetitious. Nevertheless, it can be a form of subconscious thinking in visual terms.”

As the final week of the fall term comes into view, the work of staying sharp and on task sometimes takes unconventional form for College of the Atlantic students and faculty.

According to Professor in Graphic Design Dru Colbert, studies have found that doodling during mundane or repetitive tasks is the body’s way of helping the mind stay focused, rather than daydreaming or going to sleep. In order to stay awake and mentally alert, the mind gives the body something to do so that it doesn’t get bored and start to shut down.

In an experiment run by Jackie Andrade, a cognitive psychologist at the University of Plymouth, 40 volunteers were asked to listen to a very boring phone message that consisted of just a list of names of people and places. Half of the group was asked to doodle on a spare piece of paper while listening. Afterward, both groups were asked to recall as many names from the list as they could.

Interestingly, the doodlers were able to recall an average of 7.5 of the 19 items; nondoodlers came in at 5.8 — a 28% difference.

Doodling helps the mind focus while the body wanders. These doodles were created during a Human Ecology Core Course lecture by students and teaching faculty. Enjoy!