A Project of the Child Trends News Service Supported by the National Science Foundation

How Handwriting Stimulates the Brain

Handwriting stimulates the brain

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire)—Technology has changed the way kids today record information in school. Laptops and mobile devices have made typing a more convenient way to log notes and data. But a new study shows it may not be a better way to learn.

Today many students have traded pen and paper for a keyboard and screen. But when it comes to taking notes, is typing as effective as old-fashioned writing? It might be more time consuming, but a new study shows writing by hand may offer benefits over typing on a computer. Scientists used EEG technology to examine the brain activity of 20 undergraduate students as they took notes during a word activity. They found regions of the brain associated with learning were more active when the participants drew descriptions of the words they saw by hand as opposed to taking notes by typing the descriptions.

Authors of the study say their findings suggest writing or drawing by hand promotes deeper encoding of new information in ways that typing doesn’t. It may also improve a person’s memory for new information, as handwriting involves rich sensory-motor experiences that help stimulate the brain. So, don’t overlook the old-fashioned pen or pencil when it comes to helping your child learn.

Researchers say the fact that handwriting is a slower process than typing might also offer benefits.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Julie Marks, Writer; Roque Correa, Editor.

Produced by Child Trends News Service in partnership with Ivanhoe Broadcast News and funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. 

(Sources: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5422512/, https://elemental.medium.com/bring-back-handwriting-its-good-for-your-brain-fe22fe6c81d2)

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