We are a tool using species.
Since the emergence of Homo Habilis / Homo Erectus our large brains and dexterous hands and fingers have been inextricably connected. As we think we use our hands forming and using tools. We carve and cut, shape and mold. And as we do so I believe our brain’s capabilities, its memory is enhanced. I believe, further, that this interaction persists to this day.
We take notes during a lecture to help us record the material but perhaps more than that our writing triggers this enhanced memory mechanism. We keep a diary, and more than just the words we save for posterity, the paragraphs and ideas we transfer to paper are doubly etched in our minds, a double tracing if you will. We doodle with our pens and pencils; we whiteboard our ideas and concepts, we write out equations, we use our hands in myriad ways all the while, I believe, invigorating our minds with additional power to remember and to create.
So, let’s do an experiment. As a control we’ll listen to a pod cast without scribbling nonsense on a pad of paper. And as we listen to another recording, we’ll take a pen and pad and doodle away. At the end of each recording I’ll wager you will have remembered more of the scribble cast than the motionless one.