While we are attending a boring work meeting or we are on the phone with someone who, rather than conversing with us, is giving us a monologue, sometimes we tend to doodle absentmindedly on a piece of paper. Much of the time that a student spends in class attending classes is basically focused on that activity.
Despite everything, it seems that scribbling makes us happy and necessary .
According to a study carried out at Drexel University (Philadelphia), this essentially idle occupation generates pleasant sensations . To reach this conclusion, the neuronal activity of 26 volunteers was examined as they scribbled, drew or colored using a technique called functional near-infrared spectroscopy .
Specifically, they did three different things, although very similar to each other : they colored geometric patterns, they scribbled on a piece of paper marked with a circle and they drew whatever they wanted.
All three activities, in light of the analysis, increase blood flow in the prefrontal cortex, a region of the brain associated with reward and emotion control. Furthermore, the effects were slightly higher when the individuals did not follow defined guidelines on paper.
There were small differences between each type of activity, scribbling caused the greatest increase in blood flow and coloring the least, but it was not statistically significant .
So, judging by these results, drawing a little nonsensical, without concentrating on the act of drawing, reduces stress and increases psychological well-being . Furthermore, the surveys that the participants took before and after the activities showed that they felt more creative afterwards; they believed they had better ideas and could solve problems more easily. As Girija Kaimal of Drexel University explains:
There are different implications in the findings of this study […] They indicate an inherent potential to evoke positive emotions through the development of art and, especially, doodling. Scribbling is something we all have experience with, skill-free, and judgment-free activity.