Sunday, December 2, 2018

The Drawing Effect

Mort Walker, cartoonist of Beetle Bailey
British researchers have shown that memory is greatly enhanced when a person is asked to draw something.  Scientists call this the “drawing effect.” 
"Drawing was a better memory aid than visualizing the words, than writing a description of the physical characteristics of each word’s meaning (designed to encourage deep-level encoding of the words), and more effective than looking at pictures of the words. The drawing advantage also remained when participants were given just four seconds to draw each word, and whether they performed the tasks alone or together in a lecture hall. The researchers think that drawing has this effect because it involves lots of different mental processes that are known to benefit memory, such as visualization and deep-level elaboration." 

3 comments:

Timothy Bollenbaugh said...

Can't say enough for this so everyone's spared from an attempt!

But everyone, refer to many of James' posts concerning learning and development by drawing throughout his 4000 + posts.

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Steve said...

During thirty years of teaching elementary school, I saw the truth of this repeatedly. For a few years, my students engaged in a project where we made drawings of our school’s outdoor environment. We shared those drawings on-line with students at University of Michigan who were enrolled in a Field Sketch class that took them to locations like the Sedona desert. The silent, sustained act of drawing led to both a stronger initial understanding as well as later recall of the content. I also taught a one week summer class for several years that involved using special nets to collect the tiny critters — macroinvertebrates — clinging to rocks in our nearby river. The students made accurate, detailed drawings of the specimens — counting every segment of the legs and abdomen — while examining them under a low power microscope. They were not provided with identification keys until the third day. It was gratifying how well they recognized and matched the “official” version of the macroinvertebrates with their own drawings.

Great picture of Mort Walker, James. Thanks for the link to his obit.