Jordan Peterson says not to take notes during lectures:
IMHO, for most people this is bad advice, or at least it’s bad advice unless you’re as smart as Jordan Peterson.
Jordan Peterson in a June 2017 video says he has an IQ of 150…this is a very high score, obtainable by only 1/10,000 of the general population, but he says he’s only ‘above average’ on quantitative intelligence. To get such a high score despite scoring only above average on certain sub-tests, means that the parts in which he scores well must be in excess of 170+ IQ, such that across all the sub-tests it averages out to 150. This means his verbal IQ and performance IQ may be 170+, the latter allowing him to effortlessly retain large volumes of spoken material, including important details, without having to write anything down. For example, ‘digit span’, sub-test that measures short-term memory, is related to performance IQ. The average adult score is 6 digits. Someone as smart as Jordan Peterson can probably recall 9 or more.
In academic environments, where one needs to recall specific dates and names for tests, I cannot see any downside to taking notes during lectures. Studies show that note taking improves recall of key facts (such as names and dates). From lifehack Writing and Remembering: Why We Remember What We Write
So here’s what happens: in one psychological test involving students watching a lecture on psychology (psychologists who work in academia have a virtually unlimited supply of research subjects — their students!) students who did not take notes remembered the same number of points as the students who did take notes. That is, the mere act of taking notes did not increase the amount of stuff they memorized. Both groups of students remembered around 40% of the information covered in the lecture (which as a professor makes me sad, but I guess that’s the way humans work). But the students who had taken notes remembered a higher proportion of key facts, while those who did not take notes remembered a more or less random assortment of points covered in the lecture.
Peterson says to take the notes after the lecture, but if the lecture is ninety minutes long and an important date or name is given in the first 10 minutes, what are the odds you are going to remember it when it’s over? Why not just err on the safe side and write it down. Although notes may not necessary to remember things, they tell what you need to remember, which is also important.