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Writing by hand makes us smarter

Image: Envato / Vilaythong Heuanphox

Writing by hand makes us smarter

Digitalization means we are writing less and less by hand - many schools are also increasingly switching to tablets and laptops for teaching. However, this development could have a negative impact on how we learn new things in the future. This is suggested by a study by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

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Schreiben macht schlau

Writing stimulates our brain cells

The lead author of the study is neuroscientist Audrey van der Meer. Van der Meer and her colleagues at NTNU have been researching the brain activity of 20 students during learning since 2017. They have since been able to prove that the brain cells of both young adults and children are much more active when writing by hand than when typing on a keyboard or touchscreen.

If you take handwritten notes, you are increasing the performance of your brain

The researchers from NTNU found that writing by hand generates more activity in the sensorimotor parts of the brain. Van der Meer hypothesized that even the contact between pen and paper stimulates numerous senses. These sensory experiences during writing establish the connection between different areas of the brain and help the brain to link memories with associations.

The fine motor skills required for the motor processes involved in writing by hand also help switch the brain into learning mode. People who write by hand have to engage more with what they have written. Writing down new material on paper makes it easier for the brain to memorize it.

Our notepad and our computer can be a dynamic team

However, according to van der Meer, this does not mean that computers and tablets are completely out of place in learning. To get the most out of both note taking methods, the neuroscientist recommends using a keyboard or touchscreen to write text, and writing notes and drafts by hand.

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