You know how it goes. You have a pen or a pencil in hand. You’re in a meeting, a lecture, or maybe on the phone and you’re supposed to be paying attention. Before you know it, the margins are filled with pictures and scribbles. Maybe they’re abstract or they actually resemble something someone could name. Almost everyone does it, so what do those little doodles mean?
One study, published in the scientific journal Applied Cognitive Psychology, showed that doodling helped people remember things better.
It did so by helping people use just enough brain energy to keep from daydreaming. Those who doodled remembered more items on a memory list than those who did not.
As with handwriting or maybe dreams, many believe doodles provide insight into who we are. And, although we could doodle just about anything, people doodle many of the same things. So, for fun, here some of the more common doodles and what they may say about the doodler.
Doodles of faces tell you how the person doodling views him or herself or how they view other people.
People who draw pretty faces are optimistic and outgoing. Those who draw funny faces may have a good sense of humor. And those who draw ugly faces, may be less social. Introverts tend to draw a face in profile more often than others.
The features and other characteristics of the face tell a story too:
- Big eyes can mean the person is outgoing or sensitive. Small eyes may show introversion.
- Eyes that stare could indicate that the person feels they are being watched.
- Lips that are big or full can show desire, while thin lips may mean the person is lacking romance.
- Wide faces show innocence. Cartoon-ish faces show a need for attention.
Women tend to draw flowers more often than men. They can be indicative of a kind, tender person. On the other hand, pointy petals may show that the person is distrustful. When the flowers have nice rounded, perky petals, they reveal a positive attitude. Droopy or dying flowers can show that a person does not want to open up.
Doodling squares, rectangles, triangles and other geometrical shapes is the trait of a logical person who may be a good planner.
Here are a few more specifics on certain shapes:
- Boxes and cubes show a hard-working person.
- Triangles are a sign of someone looking for answers, risk-takers, or looking to advance in their career or social life.
- Triangles within other triangles show someone is feeling threatened.
- Squares show a need for stability in their relationships.
- Squares inside other squares or groups of squares show frustration.
- Stars and diamonds show ambition.
- Swirls and spirals are a sign of a lack of ambition.
- Hearts show romanticism. Hearts inside of hearts show shyness.
Squiggles and Lines
Even squiggles and lines can mean something based on the type of line drawn.
Squiggly lines have soft lines. They show an exploration to get somewhere. Zigzag lines, with straighter points and angles, denote more aggression and impatience. The weight of the line can also show the mood of the person drawing it.
Just for Fun
Doodling also depends on your mood, your environment, and what’s on your mind. For example, I often take inspiration for my doodles from items around me, as I did with the doodle at right, which is my version of Bucky Badger, the University of Wisconsin’s mascot. I saw a picture of it and tried to copy it while I was listening in on a call recently.
What about you? What do you usually doodle and when? What do you think your doodles say about you?
This post was previously published on Catherine Lanser and is republished here with permission from the author.
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Photo credit: Catherine Lanser