Manomay Shravage
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Recently, a number of studies have shown how different ways of using our hands can have profound effects on how we think. In recent weeks, one of the most popular New York Times science pieces has been on how writing, rather than typing, engages different parts of our brains. Children express more and better ideas writing in cursive than when typing. Brain scans show that more of the areas of the brain associated with memory formation are activated when writing than when typing. This seems to have consequences. Work by researchers Mueller and Oppenheimerdemonstrates that when people take lecture notes by hand, rather than typing, they learn more. One reason for this may be the type of brain activation evoked by manual handwriting rather than typing. However, another part of it is that typing is just too fast and easy. We can almost transcribe what is said when we type - and we try to. But the key thing about taking notes is not getting information on the paper. It is UNDERSTANDING what was said and processing it deeply. Notetaking should summarize and make connections. It is not about stenography. Writing, because it is slower and more effortful, forces us to process more deeply.