Fast Typing Helps Your Mind Produce Knowledge


Fri, Jun 20th, 2014 16:00 by capnasty NEWS

According to Clive Thompson, the faster you write on a keyboard, the better you become at turning the fluid knowledge that is in your head into something that can be understood by others. Meanwhile, the more time you waste on trying to find the next key you're supposed to press, the less higher-function mental power you have to formulate a sentence, causing your idea to slip and maybe even disappear.

When you write something down, either while taking notes or while trying to write your own original thoughts, you’re dealing with what literacy scholars call “transcription fluency”: How quickly and fluidly you can get down—“transcribe”—the stuff that’s in your head. One of the reasons we formally teach handwriting to young children is that you don’t want a bottleneck between the ideas they’re forming and the writing. If you struggle with the act of forming letters and words, you’ve got less mental juice (working memory, executive control) left over to manage your higher-level processes: Pondering the flow of your argument, the points you’re aiming to make, alternate phrasings. Decades of literacy research generally show that kids who handwrite more fluidly perform better in tests and on essays than those who write slowly. This is precisely why teaching handwriting remains crucial. “If you can’t move quickly enough, your idea can slip away and never come back,” as Steve Graham, a noted literacy scholar at Arizona State University, tells me.



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