Art

Drawing Is Better For Memory Than Anything Else

If you're trying to remember something—say, what groceries you need—you might want to try drawing them instead of writing a list. Studies say that when it comes to memory, drawing beats writing every time.

Way Better Than Writing

In a study published in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, participants were presented with a list of simple words, then directed to either write them down or sketch them. Later, they were asked to recall as many words from the list as possible. "We discovered a significant recall advantage for words that were drawn as compared to those that were written," said lead author Jeffrey Wammes of the University of Waterloo in a press release. "Participants often recalled more than twice as many drawn than written words."

No Talent Needed

Furthermore, artistic talent had no bearing on the results—whether subjects had 40 seconds or 4 to make their sketch, the effect was the same. That means that even if participants didn't have time to draw the perfect apple, they were still more likely to remember it than if they'd just written the word down. That's it, we're going to start making grocery still lifes instead of lists.

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. The memory palace technique works well when you visualize a familiar space, such as your home. 00:43

  2. The brain remembers wacky or weird images more easily. 00:55

  3. People who can perform extraordinary feats of memory tend to rely on spatial memory more than the average person. 02:32

Written by Curiosity Staff September 7, 2016