Written into memory

by Jill Pinner November 11, 2016

Written into memory

Laptops, smart phones, tablets and a slew of organising apps have made hand-written notes redundant, haven’t they? Campaigners in America have even argued that we should stop teaching children how to do cursive handwriting because it is a waste of time. You don’t even have to type any more now that modern technology can turn a voice recording into text. But while typing is quicker there is still a good reason to pick up a pen and paper. When it comes to learning, notes that are written by hand has been proven to stick in our memory better than those that are made on a laptop or tablet.

A recent study conducted by Princeton University and University of California showed that students who took handwritten notes generally outperformed students who typed their notes on a computer. Compared to those who typed their notes, people who write them out in longhand appear to learn better, retain information longer, and more readily grasp new ideas, according to experiments by researchers who compared note-taking techniques. 

Image of a notebook and pen

Another study conducted by InTech found that people who take class notes on a laptop are able to type, at 100wpm. So using a laptop they can make more notes that someone who is doing it by hand. But are they benefiting from the volume of notes? According to InTech, the movement of handwriting involves a “motor memory in the sensorimotor part of the brain,” which enables one to have a connection between the reading and handwriting notes. When you type you don’t have this same connection, your brain is not as engaged with processing the information and research suggests this impacts how well you can recall it.

Living in a digital world, it seems that nearly everyone, particularly millennials, have access to computers and the clattering of keyboards has become the soundtrack of workplaces and schools the world over. It would, however, be short sighted to abandon pen entirely in favour of keyboard.

While writing by hand is more time-consuming compared to typing on a computer or phone, that time and mental effort has significant benefits, engraving valuable information more efficiently into our long term memory. It is the very act of writing by hand that helps to commit information to memory. Speed and efficiency is important but there are no short cuts to learning and real understanding.

What does this all mean for us? Well, when you’re grappling with new and challenging ideas that you want to fully take in and understand, grab a pen.

 

Further reading & references:

Chemin, A. (2014, 12 16). Handwriting vs typing: is the pen still mightier than the keyboard? Retrieved 06 15, 2016, from The Guardian: Handwriting vs typing: is the pen still mightier than the keyboard?

Hotz, R. L. (2016, 03 04). Can Handwriting Make You Smarter? Retrieved 06 15, 2016, from The Wall Street Journal: http://www.wsj.com/articles/can-handwriting-make-you-smarter-1459784659

Mangen, A., & Velay, J.-L. (2010, April 1). InTech Open. Retrieved 06 15, 2016, from InTech Open: Science, Technology and Medicine open access publisher.: http://www.intechopen.com/books/advances-in-haptics/digitizing-literacy-reflections-on-the-haptics-of-writing

 




Jill Pinner
Jill Pinner

Author


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in SNT Stationery Blog

House & Garden Festival Part 2
House & Garden Festival Part 2

by Andy Youings June 23, 2017

We've been busy at the House & Garden Festival this week, our first 'proper' event since launching Say Nice Things. We've loved meeting our customers and learnt a lot. Here’s our top 5 reasons why it’s important to get out there and meet consumers at events.
Come and say Hi at House  & Garden Festival
Come and say Hi at House & Garden Festival

by Andy Youings June 19, 2017

House & Garden Festival is taking place at London's Olympia from 21-24 June 2017. Offering visitors a wondrous and eclectic treasure trove of 550 beautiful garden, interior and lifestyle brands - we'll be there (Stand J37) with our entire collection. Come and get your hands on our beautiful stationery and grab a FREE GIFT, too!
Organising a family camp trip
Organising a family camp trip

by Andy Youings June 10, 2017

As with all things in life, good planning is the key to making things stress-free. With a little organisation you can ensure that you don’t need to take the entire house with you the next time you take the family camping. Here’s our top tips for using a journal or notebook to plan your next family adventure under canvas.