During my undergraduate degree, I made an observation that there was a correlation between the amount of doodles in my lecture notes and my relative interest in the actual content of the lecture. It was a simple way of working out how much attention I’d paid in the lecture, and therefore which things I should probably put more revision effort into before exams. Since starting my PhD, where I don’t have lectures, I’ve found that it’s the complexity of the doodles that gives away how bored I am. Here are my findings from the plan for my literature review (all the black ink is me).
1 & 2. Simple geometric doodles, just absent-mindedly scribbling while I’m reading a moderately interesting paper or stopping to think about something.
3 & 4. More complex using shading, indicating a paper that is probably getting tedious or using a lot of words I don’t understand. Still abstract shapes.
5. Actual objects, my brain is starting to melt at the amount of equations this paper uses. I’ve probably taken to staring out the window by this point, too.
6. And finally, 4:45pm on a Friday afternoon.