Which Benefits Bring Taking Notes by Hand?

Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience published the findings from a study that reveals the differences between taking notes by hand and with digital devices and the effects of both in memorizing and maintaining our brains active.

The Woman Post | Catalina Mejía

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Is it better to take notes by hand or with the use of digital tools? Which mechanism is better when it comes to learning or memorizing information? Taking notes by computer or other mobile devices becomes more popular every day. However, when it comes to learning and memorizing, researchers have found that taking notes with pen and paper is more effective than doing so with the use of devices.

A neuroscience behavioral study made by researchers from the University of California and Princeton published in 2014, revealed that students that take notes by hand performed better when answering questions related to concepts, than those that took notes by computer. A possible explanation for this fact is that writing by hand enables people to organize and summarize information in their own words, ensuring a better understanding of concepts. On the other hand, the use of devices to take notes could lead people to summarize more passively.


Other studies have shown that although taking notes by computer may be faster, doing so by hand is useful for memorizing and remembering keywords. One of the advantages of taking notes by hand relates to a better understanding of concepts that is achieved when using paper and a pen. Several studies also indicate that people show a better comprehension when reading from paper than from screens. Some studies suggest that reading from printed paper is better for perceiving physical sizes and for understanding spatial distances. 

A group of researchers from the University of Tokyo conducted a comparative study between three groups of people that were assigned the same tasks. They were asked to schedule some tasks on a calendar, some would do so on physical paper, while others would do it by using tablets and smartphones. Then they were asked about the tasks that they had previously scheduled. The results revealed that those who scheduled the tasks by hand remembered with more precision the events that they scheduled when compared to those that did so by Tablet or Smartphone. Hence the most effective way to memorize is by writing by hand. So what are you waiting for to start taking notes with paper and pen?

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