In this age, we are typing on keyboards more frequently than writing by hand.
It is common to see people typing notes on laptops at conferences, lectures, or meetings and do freelance copywriting on laptops at home.
Typing is more convenient and faster, but research shows that handwriting improves the quality of learning.
As per a study by Pam Mueller and Daniel Oppenheimer of Princeton University and UCLA, respectively, published in Psychological Science, the pen is mightier than the keyboard when it comes to learning.
Here are the three scientific links between handwriting and brain function:
1- Improves Short-term and Long-term Memory
Certain regions in our brain become active while writing.
One such region is Hippocampus which is present in the temporal lobe. Its primary functions include learning and memory.
As per a research paper published on PMC, handwriting activities are positively linked to hippocampal volume and memory in multiple Sclerosis.
Hippocampus stores memory and transforms short-term memory into long-term. This region of the brain gets activated when you start writing.
Another region in the brain is the Caudate Nucleus.
It is located in the cerebrum and processes your memories. Caudate Nucleus stores information of skills that come by practice or repetition. It uses stored memories in your brain to help you act in the future.
Thus, when you start to write, the caudate nucleus gets highly activated in the brain.
2- Sharpens Critical Thinking
As per a Wall Street Journal article, writing that engages your memory and motor-skills is a great cognitive exercise for those who want to keep their minds sharp as they grow old.
Writing helps your brain to learn letters and shapes. It improves idea composition and expression and develops motor skills.
There is a unique relationship between hand and brain when composing thoughts and ideas.
Virginia Berninger, who is a professor at the University of Washington, considers handwriting different from typing. As per her, handwriting requires executing sequential strokes to form a letter. On the other hand, typing involves selecting a whole letter by touching a key.
She says that sequential hand movements used in handwriting activate large regions of the brain responsible for thinking and working memory.
As per a study done by Neuro-scientist Martin Lotze, there is increased activity in the wide network of regions of the brain during the creative writing process.
In his experiment, Martin Lotze noticed the link between writing and Broca’s area.
Broca’s area is located in the front and lowest part of the frontal lobe. It is a major component in neurologic language functioning. It gets highly activated in the left hemisphere of the brain if the person is right-handed.
3- Increases Neural Activity leading to a Healthy Brain
As per research conducted at Indiana University, just the act of writing by hand can develop creativity. High-tech MRI has shown that writing by hand increases neural activity in certain sections of the brain, just like meditation.
The research shows that writing by hand slows down your breathing and gets you into a zone where words flow from your brain. Thus, making writing an effective method for de-stressing.
The amalgamation of memory, motor skills, and slower pace handwriting helps remove your block by pulling you away from the unblinking eye of the laptop.
Thus, writing stimulates brain activity, helping you to stay sharp as you become old.