Going Back To The Basics: The Benefits of Writing By Hand
Technology has become a staple in modern society. We are so dependent on our computers, smartphones, and tablets that most of us probably can't imagine living without them. While electronics make our lives easier and more efficient in many ways, there are consequences of replacing traditional handwriting with computer typing. Some of these are quite obvious – social media sites are distracting while in class or at work, and staring at a computer screen all day is exhausting. However, is it possible that typing in place of writing by hand is harmful in itself? Science suggests this may be the case, as writing on laptops and computers can actually inhibit our learning and memory. Keep on reading to learn how going back to the basics and rediscovering handwriting can change the way your brain works.
The impact of technology on our brains has been a huge topic of conversation since Nicholas Carr's controversial "Is Google Making Us Stupid" article was published on the cover of The Atlantic in 2008. In this opinion piece, Carr discussed how his ability to concentrate had declined as his use of the internet increased. He believes that the overwhelming use of computers alters our habits, and this adaptation occurs at the biological level. Carr's article is mostly based on his own experiences, but scientific research in the area has tested these claims.
Researchers from UCLA tested whether computers impair learning with a series of studies comparing longhand and laptop note taking during a lecture. The results, published in Psychological Science, showed note taking on a computer is less effective than by hand. College students who wrote by hand performed better on tests both immediately after the lecture and a week later than those who used a laptop. This means they had better factual recall and conceptual learning, indicating a higher quality of initial learning and study notes. Since writing is slower than typing, taking notes by hand forced students to process the information and reframe it in their own words instead of mindlessly transcribing the professor's words verbatim, resulting in better information retention.
Writing by hand is also beneficial outside of academic and professional contexts. Research published by the American Psychological Association showed that expressive writing can help people deal with stressful or traumatic events. In particular, writing about negative events reduces intrusive negative thoughts and improves working memory. Keeping a diary and writing about negative experiences may help your ability to cope more effectively with stress, improving your cognitive skills and calming your brain all in one.
Breaking the bond between you and your laptop is difficult, and a boring spiral notebook won't make it any easier. Luckily, we carry an extensive collection of high-quality lined and blank notebooks, journals, planners, pens and pencils, and other stationery at Room 2046. Unique pieces like the Writer's Block Journal will motivate you and add a lighthearted touch to your desk or office. A notebook is incomplete without a set of pens to go with it, so take a look at the Kikkerland Retro Pen Metallic Set for something classic, or the Poketo Gradient Double Tip Pens to add a pop of colour. For those concerned about the environmental impact of using notebooks, Molla Space Cork notebooks are made with sustainable, eco-friendly processes. Cork is harvested by removing only the bark, leaving the tree unharmed and allowing the cork to regenerate.
Are you suddenly feeling inspired to put pen to paper? Browse our full collection of stationery here, or stop by the Room 2046 store to take a look! To see more of our current obsessions, check out our Pinterest and Instagram.