It’s Right to Write

Sophia Sabini-Leite, Writer

As we move into an ever more technological age where touch phones, tablets, readers, and laptops are a daily essential, people begin to forget about the “old fashioned” method of taking pen to paper, and writing. Typing has replaced writing– but is typing really the best choice for our health in the long term? Typing on a computer is, unarguably, the quicker and easier way to interact; but as research shows, when you put pen to paper, not only does it help you remember more, it can actually help you to become a better writer and keep your brain young.

In a recent study conducted by Pam Mueller of Princeton University and researcher Daniel Oppenheimer of UCLA, and published in the journal Psychological Science, note-takers were asked to listen to one of five TED Talks and to take notes either by hand or on a computer. Later, these researchers asked questions about what participants had heard that involved facts or deep thinking. Both groups did well when recalling facts, but note-takers who used pen and paper did considerably better than the typing note-takers when answering deep thinking questions.

The reason? When writing, your hand is used to form the shapes of the letters, therefore engaging your brain in the process. Handwriting requires a hand-eye coordination. As you write, your brain must work to recognize and remember the shape of the letter. This method exercises your brain and keeps it sharp and fast, especially as you get older. When you type, you are repeatedly striking corresponding key, which does not bring about the same effect in the brain.  Typing involves less brain activity, and therefore doesn’t bring about the same results in the thought process.

Next time you take notes, close your laptop cover and use pen and paper; you will retain more information and you will keep your brain healthy.