People always say that the best way to remember something is to write it down. I used to take it very seriously writing everything down during studying, reading a book and of course I used to make endless to-do lists. At some point I felt I was drowning in tones of colourful sticky notes surrounding me everywhere I go. I always thought this was a pretty good strategy to commit the material to memory.
Research suggests a more effective strategy to boost recall, and I’m happy to share this with you today. Instead of writing something down, draw it. As the lead author of the study explains:
“We pitted drawing against a number of other known encoding strategies, but drawing always came out on top. We believe that the benefit arises because drawing helps to create a more cohesive memory trace that better integrates visual, motor, and semantic information.”
Drawing the information outperformed writing it down, creating mental images of it and viewing pictures of it. Indeed, a simple sketch turns out to be an excellent memory enhancer.
Don’t freak out if you are not Picasso 😉 The good news is that the quality of the drawings doesn’t seem to matter much. Taking four seconds to draw a rough picture is enough to gain a “huge advantage” in memory.