Drawing effect is more for memory retention than writing effect
Toronto : As retention of new information typically declines as people age, drawing may make it easier to remember than writing it down, a new study has found.
The study, published in the journal, 'Experimental Aging and Research,' showed that even if people weren't good at it, drawing, as a method to help retain new information, was better than re-writing notes, visualisation exercises or passively looking at images.
"We found that drawing enhanced memory in older adults more than other known study techniques," said co-author Melissa Meade from the University of Waterloo.
"We're really encouraged by these results and are looking into ways by which it can be used to help people with dementia, who experience rapid declines in memory and language function," Meade added.
As part of a series of studies, the research team asked a group of both young people and older adults to do a variety of memory-encoding techniques and then tested their recall.
The researchers believe that drawing led to better memory when compared with other study techniques because it incorporated multiple ways of representing the information -- visual, spatial, verbal, semantic and motoric.
As part of the studies, the researchers also compared different types of memory techniques in aiding retention of a set of words, in a group of undergraduate students and a group of senior citizens.
Participants would either encode each word by writing it out, by drawing it, or by listing physical attributes related to each item. Later on after performing each task, memory was assessed.
Both groups showed better retention when they used drawing rather than writing to encode the new information, and this effect was especially large in older adults.