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Handwriting involves more brain connections than typing

by Afonso
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Typing is much faster than hand writing, but it creates less stimulation for the brain. So handwriting involves more brain connections than typing. This information has emerged in a recent study. The research paper was published last Friday in the Switzerland-based journal Frontiers in Psychology.

According to the report of the American media NBC, the researchers of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) recorded the brain activity of 36 students in the study. Studies have shown that people can improve their learning ability as well as their memory by writing by hand.

In the study, students were instructed to write words on the screen of the experimental device using a digital pen and type the same words using the keyboard. After various words such as ‘forest’ or ‘hedgehog’ appear on their screen, they have 25 seconds to write and type them multiple times. At this time, a sensor cap is put on the head of the students. This cap was measuring the brain waves of the students. 256 electrodes in the cap are attached to the students’ scalp, recording electrical signals from their brains. Through this, it can be seen how different brain cells of the students are activated and how different parts of the brain communicate with each other.

Audrey van der Meer, co-author of the study and professor of neuropsychology at NTNU, said: ‘Our key finding in the study is that almost the entire brain was active in handwriting. Compared to that, it was very low in typing. Typing requires less communication between the visual and motor cortices of the brain.’

Earlier, another study by Professor Audrey van der Meer on children and young people similarly showed that the human brain is more active when writing by hand than when typing. In 2017, research from Indiana University in the US indicated that there may be a link between the skills of the visual and motor cortices of the brain during handwriting. But there have been mixed results so far on whether taking notes on paper or typing on a laptop can help students better remember, understand, or perform on exams.

Recent studies have shown that when students write by hand, connections between the frontal lobes of the brain and the temporal lobes of the brain, which are related to memory, are made. The report notes that future research may provide more information about what participants remember from handwritten and typed content.


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