Lend Me a Pencil!
Scientists say writing words by hand uses parts of the brain that aren’t active when we type those same words.
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Writing things by hand may be good for our minds. A new study shows that parts of the brain are more active when we are handwriting words than when we’re typing them.
In the study, scientists at a university in Norway recorded the brain activity of 36 students while the students typed a word or handwrote it in cursive with a digital pen. The scientists wanted to see if either of these activities would cause two parts of the brain to be active at the same time. That’s a sign that different parts of the brain are communicating with one another.
The scientists found that when the students wrote words by hand, many parts of their brains were active. When the students typed words, fewer parts of the brain were active. This is partly because writing words with a pen or pencil requires more motor skills, which are skills having to do with moving the body. Typing doesn’t require as much movement. But handwriting also seems to cause more activity in parts of the brain related to learning and memory.
Audrey van der Meer is one of the scientists who was involved in the study. She says people may learn and remember information better when they write it down by hand. But that doesn’t mean everyone should stop using computers and tablets. Typing is often easier and faster than writing. Scientists say it’s possible that writing things down is better for some tasks and typing is better for others.