Think with your Hand!

Writing by hand is not only an expression of personality, it also trains our minds. It helps us to think, remember and understand.

Everyone knows from experience that coming into personal contact with things tends to leave a more lasting impression. Our brain always assumes that these “upclose” experiences are important and therefore have to be kept constantly available, in case they are needed again sometime soon. Which is why children find it easier to learn the alphabet if they write the letters out by hand.

And this not only applies to youngsters. Given the flood of information that we are faced with on a daily basis, our brains initially only save information which we have given attention to more intently or for longer periods. People well trained at typing with all ten fingers, who can write faster with a keyboard than by hand, certainly enjoy a time advantage in the short term. However, it is more difficult for them to retrieve the information at a later date. Studies have shown that students who make handwritten notes during a lecture generally have a better understanding of the topic than those who use a laptop. The same applies for notes made during meetings and discussions.

As writing by hand takes longer, it’s not possible to write everything down, and is therefore necessary to summarise, paraphrase and construe. In other words, writing by hand forces us to truly understand a topic.