Handwriting Beats Typing, Hands Down!
By Michael S. Tyrrell
February 9, 2021
Hey there, Wholetonians!
This week I came across a tweet from a doctor that stated how research shows that writing by hand helps engage the brain more deeply than typing. I had read this before, but the information got lost in the busy-ness of whatever it was that I was preoccupied with at the time, and I forgot about it.
This time, this little fact intrigued me enough to make me pause.
How could it be more engaging to the brain? We’re having to think about what we write whether we type it or write it by hand; there is still eye hand coordination that goes into play whether we write or type…these are the things I reasoned to myself.
But here’s some of what I found, and I thought I’d share it with you…
Scientists are discovering that learning to write in cursive ( a skill that is no longer being taught in most schools anymore!) is an important tool for cognitive development because it integrates sensation, movement control, and thinking.
When you write on paper, your brain is calculating and engaging motor control over the fingers to keep your letter shapes and sizes uniform and legible. While typing, the keyboard handles that aspect. Writing by hand can make you smarter!
Let’s keep score, shall we?
Handwriting: 1 Typing: 0
Virginia Berninger, a professor at the University of Washington, researched the hand’s unique relationship with the brain when it comes to composing thoughts and ideas. She reported her study of children in elementary grades that revealed they wrote more words and expressed more ideas when writing essays by hand versus with a keyboard. Handwriting sparks creativity.
Handwriting: 2 Typing: 0
According to an article I read in Forbes, handwriting increases neural activity in certain parts of the brain much like meditation. Want to relax? Grab a pen!
Handwriting: 3 Typing: 0
Another example of the profound effect handwriting can have on the brain and even the emotional processes: If you write a note or letter to another person, there are benefits to both writer and recipient. I think you’ll agree that receiving a hand-written letter or card is more meaningful and affects us more deeply emotionally than receiving the same message or sentiments via text or email. There’s a stronger connection that is formed through handwriting.
Handwriting: 4 Typing: 0
The clear winner is handwriting, hands down! It’s a bit ironic that as I’m expounding on the benefits of writing by hand, you’re reading the words I have typed on a keyboard, but in all fairness, I did write some of my thoughts on a notepad before transferring them onto my computer!
I will end with this quote from the above-mentioned Forbes article:
“National Book Award-winner Robert Stone said, ‘The pen compels lucidity.’ And lucidity, I believe, offers a different and often clearer perspective of dreams, goals, challenges and life in general.”
Want to be smarter, more creative, relaxed, create deeper connections, and have a clearer perspective of life in general? Pick up a pencil or pen and start writing!
We’ll chat again soon. Until then…
Michael S. Tyrrell
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