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Write with a pen if you want to be successful: why the computer kills memory and creative thinking

'29.01.2024'

Alina Prikhodko

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Modern neuroscience research helps explain why handwriting is better than typing when it comes to learning and remembering. Inc talked about one habit that improves the connection between the brain, learning and memory.

Research has long shown that handwriting has significant advantages over typing, especially when it comes to learning, memory, and creativity. Now researchers from Norway may have figured out why this is so. They studied the underlying neural networks that are involved in both writing and typing.

Research has long shown that handwriting has significant advantages over typing, especially when it comes to learning, memory, and creativity. Now researchers from Norway may have figured out why this is so. They studied the underlying neural networks that are involved in both writing and typing.

“We showed that when writing by hand, the brain's wiring patterns are much more complex than when typing on a keyboard,” writes Audrey van der Meer, a brain researcher at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. “This broad brain connectivity is known to be critical for memory formation and the encoding of new information and is therefore beneficial for learning.”

How does handwriting help you learn?

In the study, 36 university students were repeatedly asked to write or type words that appeared on a screen. They either wrote in cursive on the touch screen using a digital pen or typed text on a keyboard with one finger. To determine the results, the researchers used a high-density electroencephalogram (EEG), a test that measures the electrical activity of the brain.

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The researchers observed that when participants wrote by hand, connectivity between different areas of the brain increased. This did not happen when they were typing. Thus, the researchers concluded that the process of forming letters by hand led to increased brain connectivity and promoted learning.

“We showed that differences in brain activity are associated with careful letter formation in handwriting, with greater use of the senses,” van der Meer explained. “This also explains why children who learn to write and read on a tablet have difficulty distinguishing between letters that are mirror images of each other, such as “b” and “d.” They literally didn’t feel in their bodies what it was like to create those letters.”

This research may be new, but the principle of learning through handwriting is not. For example, in ancient Israel, kings were required to handwrite a copy of the law. In this way, they not only learned the intricacies of the law, but were also able to better understand and remember it.

In modern times, business copywriters have used the same technique to improve their ability to write persuasively. By rewriting successful advertisements from other well-known copywriters, they learned standard copywriting principles, thereby improving their writing abilities.

Photo: IStock

How can you use this knowledge to your advantage?

Follow the main principle of writing. If you want to clarify your thoughts, remember something important, or convey information clearly, write it down by hand. This will help you slow down and think, and therefore absorb what you have written.

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Also, write as if you are going to convey it in a message to another person. When reading what you have written, try to predict what questions the reader might have. This will allow you to clarify your thoughts on the matter by anticipating these questions and give you the opportunity to do additional research if necessary.

At the end of your written work, try to summarize your findings in a few sentences. Write as if you were explaining a topic to a small child: the more simply you can explain the topic, the better you will understand it.

So, the next time you want to remember, learn, or understand better, remind yourself: Don't type. Write. This will help you slow down and think, allowing you to use more of your brain and senses in the process.

 

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