Psychology Of Doodling

Many of us doodle on bits of paper when we’re on the phone, or on writing pads when in meetings. But what is doodling and why do we do it?

Doodling is defined as a type of sketch or unfocused drawing made while a person’s attention is otherwise occupied. In the same way that dreams are said to offer us a glimpse into our unconscious, psychologists believe doodling can give us an insight into our deepest thoughts and feelings.

First of all let’s look at the location of the doodle. People who doodle in the centre of the page may be extroverted and in need of attention. This is believed to be a common trait amongst public speakers such as Barristers and Lecturers. Using the centre of the page may also be an indication of a need for more personal space. Doodles placed at the top of the page indicate confidence and a wealth of ideas. Doodles to the left of the page are the most common and reflect nostalgia for certain past events and experiences. Those who doodle to the right of the page are usually left handed, and this may also indicate a need to express hidden thoughts and ideas.

What about the types of doodles themselves? There are several common themes. Doodles of buildings can indicate a need for security and shelter. Planes, cars, ships and other methods of transportation reflect a need to travel or experience new things. Squares, triangles, spirals and circles are indications of a structured, analytical and logical mind. They reflect a need for routine and for things to be in order. Numbers and currency signs show a preoccupation with money and possessions. Stars often show up in children’s doodles, and psychologists believe this is linked to emotional deprivation. What do children wish upon? Adults who draw stars may be longing for something they feel deprived of, such as love and affection.


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