Drawing can actually be great for your memory.
The funny thing about memory is that the more a person remembers the easier it is not to forget. Take, for example, these numbers 256793. While it is very difficult to use rote study for memorization, which is repeating these numbers over and over until you memorize them, it is far easier to use pictograms that are imagined.
For the set of numbers 256793, we can create some images. Try to remember the sequence this way: 2 rotten fish, with five eyes each, served to six fat people. A seventh person arrives and says, “I told you nine times that you should only eat fish with three eyes.” If you are like most people, then you can remember this number sequence easier by saying this story out loud while imagining this nonsensical scene.
The reason why we can more easily remember numbers this way, in the order of the numerical sequence, is that they have a clearer association with each other. The story adds more meaning to the numbers, even if the meaning is absurd. That makes it easier to remember. Even better than imagining a story, is if we draw it.
Time says scientists discovered that by doodling about the things you want to remember creates more associations in the mind and therefore stronger memory about them. When a person is doodling this engages the right side of the brain. One element of the memory is stored as a logical sequence in one part of the brain. Another element is stored in another part of the brain as a creative expression of that thought as imagined in a doodle.
Researchers from the University of Waterloo in Canada found that drawing requires the brain to process visual information, translate the meaning of words into images, and the motor circuits involved in the physical acct of making the doodle. This deep engagement of different parts of the brain makes it much easier to remember something when compared to just writing it down.
Older adults and those with memory problems can take advantage of this discovery when trying to improve memory function. An additional benefit of making a doodle is that the regions of the brain, which are involved in sensory processing, normally show less damage from age than the parts of the brain involved with understanding language and memory. By drawing the things that you need to remember, the part of your brain that is not used as much becomes activated and this helps with memory.
Scientists say that it does not matter how good you are at drawing. Simply making the drawing is enough to help trigger memory. Researchers suggest trying a practical application that anyone can do to test out this phenomenon. The next time you go grocery shopping, instead of using a written list of the things you need to buy, make drawings of the items. Then, when you get to the store try to see how much you can remember without looking at the list. You will probably be surprised about how many things you can remember without even making much of an effort.