Handwriting: Still in Style

HandwritingLast summer, I wrote a post in defense of handwriting notes. Psychologically speaking, I argued, the process of putting ideas on paper by hand helps people better understand and remember information, facilitates emotional processing, and allows us to connect better with the people delivering information. I recently came across an NPR story that asserted the modern relevance of the paper notebook, for many of these same reasons.

NPR found a study that escaped my review (possibly because it was published just a few weeks before my post): A psychology experiment found that lecture attendees who hand-wrote notes outperformed keyboard notetakers on a knowledge test immediately afterward (Mueller & Oppenheimer, 2014). This means that the enhanced cognitive processing associated with hand-writing notes translates to real results, both for students and for anyone who benefits from remembering information after receiving it (spoiler: that’s pretty much all of us).

The second revelation in the article was a goal-oriented hard copy planner called the Passion Planner, developed by Angelia Trinidad. The planners not only leverage the power of handwriting, but they also encourage the assignment of large goals to each week and smaller action steps toward their accomplishment to each day. As a psychologist, I love the idea. I’ve put in my order and will let you know how my new Passion Planner works for me.


Mueller, P. A., & Oppenheimer, D. M. (2014). The pen is mightier than the keyboard: Advantages of longhand over laptop note taking. Psychological Science, 25(6), 1159-1168. doi: 10.1177/0956797614524581

One thought on “Handwriting: Still in Style

  1. I completely agree with your argument that handwriting notes is a great way to help with understanding and remembering information. I used this technique all through high school and college, and now I’m teaching my kids to use it. They try to fight me on it (mainly out of laziness) but my response is always “trust me, it works”. I think my 10 year old is starting to realize that it actually does!

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