How Writing by Hand Improves Memory

Even though laptops have risen in popularity as note-taking tools, nothing beats jotting down notes by hand. The physical act of writing requires selecting and sorting information and deciding which of it is important enough to write down. Students who took notes on laptops tended to simply transcribe what they were hearing. As a result, they retained less of the information.

Writing by hand also improves memory by removing the constant temptations of distractions from electronic devices. When you have a pen in your hand, it forces you to set aside your cellphone and put responding to texts and emails on hold while you concentrate on putting information down on paper.

 

Engages your brain

Handwriting also engages more of the brain by providing multiple forms of stimulation. When you write, you are sorting information while also moving physically, stimulating the part of the brain responsible for alertness and motivation.

The slower pace of writing by hand requires the note-taker to coordinate language systems with fine motor skills. This generates deeper information processing, possibly forming or reinforcing neural pathways in a way that aids memory.

Gain extra perks from cursive writing

Cursive writing seems to have a better effect than printing, possibly because of the more prolonged contact with the paper. It makes cursive writing slightly more “automatic,” which means you can pay better attention to the information you are writing down and concentrate less on the mechanical aspect of forming letters with your pen.

Makes your brain work harder

Compound sensory input makes the brain work—focusing attention and taking in information from sound, movement, and tactile experiences. The brain then works to integrate these inputs. Essentially, writing by hand makes your brain work harder, so you’re less likely to go on “autopilot” and zone out as you are transcribing information on a laptop.

Analog has returned to many digital devices, with touch screen technology and Bluetooth styluses that enable tablet and laptop users to write by hand. Doodling on paper or on these devices also boosts memory. Creating visual “mnemonics” that connects information to pictures helps people remember what they heard.

Enables information in multiple avenues

Handwriting enables multiple avenues of entry of information to the brain—the sensory feeling of a pen on paper, the movement required to write words or doodle, and the auditory information of a lecture or a recording combine to etch information in the brain in a way that makes it easier to recall.

If improving memory is your goal, visit your online pen shop and choose a writing implement worthy of your thoughts and perspectives.

 

By Some Folks at EndlessPens

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