How Ditching Your Computer Actually Makes You Smarter
Sophia Terra Ziva
Penmanship is a bit of a lost art, to be sure. After all, the majority of us probably spend most of our typing time on our iPhones or computers rather than writing handwritten love letters in elegantly curling cursive. And though we've waxed extensively on the benefits of journaling, it turns out there's more reason yet to sharpen your pencils.
According to a study out of Princeton University and UCLA, individuals who take handwritten notes outperform those who use their computers.
While students often prefer to take notes on laptops (typed lecture notes come out at a rate of 33 words a minute, while handwritten notes clock in at 22 words a minute), the extended time and slightly different energy it takes to handwrite actually benefits information retention and facilitates a deeper understanding of concepts presented.
The understanding is that the ease of typing on a laptop encourages students to simply transcribe what they are hearing verbatim. This does not allow for any real engagement with the topics beyond surface-level transcription. Conversely, handwriting notes encourages the note taker to parse ideas, paraphrase in order to capture relevant information, and thus engage with the material more thoughtfully.
Even if you're no longer a student, the findings point to a real benefit in keeping a notebook handy whenever you're planning to listen and learn. We're not mad: Count this as one more happy excuse to stock up on handsome school supplies!
Do you prefer hand-writing your notes? Tell us below!