A very interesting paragraph

Andrade said more research is obviously needed to find out how doodling helps us maintain our attention. However, her theory is that by using up slightly more mental resources, doodling helps prevent the mind from wandering off the boring primary task into daydream land. This study is part of an emerging recognition in psychology that secondary tasks aren't always a distraction from primary tasks, but can sometimes actually be beneficial.

There is more information here.


I've noticed informally that it feels like I am more productive working as a computer programmer if I have just the right sort of book to read during downtimes waiting on the computer. If the book is too engaging, I don't want to stop reading. If it isn't engaging enough, I wander off and Internet surf instead, which always seems to be a bigger distraction than reading a book.

But if the book is just right, I get in a rhythm of working and reading, and I never lose my focus on the work. And those times it feels like I am more productive than normal, without any extra effort on my part.

Some students can concentrate better on studying when listening to music, while others get distracted. I myself always found that listening to instrumental music or music in a language I couldn't understand was a great help in keeping part of my mind occupied while the other concentrated on studying. However, if it had English lyrics I would tend to focus on those rather than my study material and lose my train of thought.

There have been studies done on children with ADHD and fidgeting that show similar results. When allowed to fidget and move, the ADHD kids retained as much information as the non-ADHD kids, but when required to stay still and not move at all, their retention rate plummeted.

Apparently the fidgeting was the kind of secondary task that doodling is, and allowed them to focus on the task at hand.

p.s. Those book ads on the side are the most aggravating and horrible ads I have ever seen on a blog. This comment took forever to type because the stupid things kept popping up over the comment box. Get rid of them plz.

7.8 versus 7.1? In a group of 20 people? I don't buy it. Statistical noise.

I raised 4 children and taught each to drive (a standard transmission) myself. I treasured the time behind the wheel. I found that if I needed to have a difficult talk with them about themselves, driving ed was a productive time to do so. Just the act of driving diverted just enough mental effort that they found it difficult to use the normal teen evasions. We really talked to each other, staring at the wind screen and hoping that we knew what each other were doing.

David C.

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