your Creative Visualization
that resemble abstract drawings you have to give a sense,
are known as "droodles". These kinds of puzzles
were popularized in the U.S. by Roger Price's 1953 book "Droodles".
The trademarked name 'droodle' is a portmanteau word suggesting
both 'doodle' and 'riddle'. But the droodles or indovinelli
grafici have been known since the Renaissance in Italy.
One of the oldest droodles – representing a blind
beggar behind a street corner – was drawn by the
Italian painter Agostino
what exactly is a "Droodle"? It is actually a
kind of minimal cartoon featuring rather abstract pictorial
elements accompanied by an implicit question: "What
is it?". A punch line (usually a funny description,
see images further below) finally
made the cartoon obvious.
are based on the pareidolia (payr-eye-DOH-lee-uh),
an innate human tendency to impose a pattern on random
or ambiguous shapes. Astronomer Carl Sagan claimed that
the tendency to see faces in tortillas, clouds, cinnamon
buns, and the like is an evolutionary trait. He wrote:
"As soon as the infant can see, it recognizes faces, and we now know that
this skill is hardwired in our brains. Those infants who a million years ago
were unable to recognize a face smiled back less, were less likely to win the
hearts of their parents, and less likely to prosper. These days, nearly every
infant is quick to identify a human face, and to respond with a goony grin" (Sagan,
ability to have what we know interacts top-down with what
we see, and allows us to recognize a scene, a portrait
even from these minimal cartoons. The world that surrounds
us is 'sensorially noisy': in fact, we don't realize that
most of the signals/stimuli we receive from our environment
are sometimes full of gaps, because our mental top-down
processing restores them unconsciously.
we give signification to every data coming into our
When your brain has to identify an object, it must match
what you see against your stored knowledge and experiences.
Taking sensory data in from the environment and analyzing
relevant information is called "bottom-up processing".
Bottom-up processing is tied to EMPIRICAL reality and deals
with the transformation of concrete, physical features of
stimuli into abstract models.
when your EXPECTATIONS affect perception, the phenomenon
is referred to as "top-down" or "conceptually
driven processing". Top-down processing involves your
past experiences, knowledge, motivations, and cultural
background as well in perceiving the world. In a few words,
top-down processing involves higher mental functioning
that influences HOW you understand physical objects, signs
and events. The droodles illustrate the importance of top-down
processing: without the labels, these drawings are meaningless.
But once the drawings are identified, your perception changes
and you can easily find meaning in them, or even give new
meanings by idea-association. Moreover, as soon as the
meaning of a drawing 'emerges' (that is, when it becomes
familiar to you), you can no longer see it as you were
seeing it before!
your imagination with droodles
Giving meaning to abstract forms can also
be a way to stimulate your imagination and exercise your
visual thinking skills. When Leonardo da Vinci needed to
get his creative juices flowing, he sat and stared at clouds
or rocks... "If you look upon an old wall covered with
dirt or the odd appearance of some streaked stones",
he once wrote, "you may discover several things like
landscapes, battles, clouds, uncommon attitudes, humorous
faces, draperies...". Da Vinci heartily recommended
this 'new method' of invention as a practical technique for "opening
the mind and putting it upon the scent of new thoughts".
The abstract, organic forms embedded in crumbling walls and
hunks of stone, he believed, could be put to work as "terrestrial
batteries for jump-starting the imagination" (just for
your enlightenment, in the language of Da Vinci, doodle is
named 'ghirigoro' or 'scarabocchio').
encourage parents and educators to use our math droodles
as a tool to build young (and grown-up) creative minds...
For that purpose, do not hesitate to download any of
(visit also www.droodles.com).
You're also encouraged to expand and/or improve this
article. Send your comments, feedback or suggestions
A. Sarcone. Thanks!