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Drawing Something May Help You Remember It Better, According To Science

There are a lot of suggested mnemonics to help one memorize certain information, but one really stands out to be the best tool to remember something. Drawing pictures may help one remember better, research says.

The study conducted by the researchers from the University of Waterloo, Ontario found that drawing an image of a piece of information may help one remember that certain data. Hence, drawing pictures is a reliable way to improve memory besides taking a power nap.

Jeffrey Wammes, Melissa Meade and Professor Myra Fernandez from the Department of Psychology at the university provided students a series of 80 simple words that had to be drawn or written. They also gave the students a filler activity where they had to classify musical tones to help the retention process.

The participants were given 40 seconds to draw or repeatedly write the word from the list given to them. After the drawing and writing activity, they were asked to recall as many words as possible from the list within 60 seconds.

The students remembered the words that were drawn twice as much compared to the words that were written. The researchers named the result of the experiment "the drawing effect," meaning the benefit or advantage of drawing compared to writing.

"We discovered a significant recall advantage for words that were drawn as compared to those that were written," Wammes said.

In the experiment, the researchers also gave the students a variation activity to distinctively drive into a better result. The students were asked to repeatedly write the words or make any visual add-ons in the words, such as doodling and shading of the letters. However, this did not change the result, and drawing still remained to be the best way to memorize a thing.

Ultimately, the team found that drawing pictures derived from the information needed to be memorized led to a better memory performance as compared to writing, creating mental images or just merely viewing a picture.

The researchers added that the performance of memory to remember something does not change regardless of the artistic ability of the person to draw. The findings suggest that many could benefit from this mode of memorizing even if they only had 4 seconds to draw.

"We believe that the benefit arises because drawing helps to create a more cohesive memory trace that better integrates visual, motor and semantic information," said Wammes.

The researchers are currently working on knowing why this mode of memorization is effective and how this can be used for other types of information.

The study's findings are published on Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.

Photo: Maks Karochkin | Flickr

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