Thursday, 12 May 2011


The process of putting pen to paper and reading from a book imprints knowledge in the brain more effectively than using a keyboard and computer screen reported Richard Alleyne Science Correspondent to The Telegraph, in January of this year.

The report he  commented on included studies conducted in Norway and Japan. Each examined how, and where, the brain processed and stored information.  

Using fingers to explore our surroundings –  feeling your way around   is "haptic." Haptics include passive perceptions as well as movements and action. Scientists proved that when we write by hand our brain receives feedback from our muscles and finger tips. Linked to hepatic sensations was the fact that it takes more mental effort – and time – to write by hand and so this helps to imprint memories.

According to Prof Anne Mangen, of the University of Stavanger in Norway, research proved that different parts of the brain are stimulated by reading and writing.

Prof Mangen experimented on two groups of adults. She asked them to learn to write in an unknown alphabet, consisting of approximately twenty letters. One group was taught to write by hand, while the other was using a keyboard.

Three and six weeks into the experiment she tested the participants' recollection of these letters. She also tested the speed at which they were able to distinguishing correctly orientated or reversed letters. Those who had learned the letters by handwriting came out best in all tests.

Research in Japan showed that repetition changes the structure of the brain: practice makes perfect.

In ENCOUNTERS, Thursday is faced with learning and relearning. She writes words and phrases multiple times.

I was a reader before I went to school but I couldn’t learn spellings. When I was twelve, my teacher, Miss Johnston, already knew what the study in the Norway has proved. My head remembers ringing with the sharp tap she delivered as her full-stop, she said, “If you can read the word with understanding, you can spell it. I know this because it is already in there.” 
She insisted that I just had to get two different areas of the brain to communicate and share the information. Her advice was to pause at any longer word and then to use my index finger to write the word on my knee. She said I had to remind myself that I could read it and I knew how to spell it. I still shadow write spellings when I’m reading; it is an unconscious - and unnecessary – habit.

This study suggest that reading from books and physically writing important information is essential in effective learning. 

A pro-realbook argument?

An MC who reinforces learning with ideas they scribble in a note book? One who spells out words, finger tracing across palm or on their knee?

Have you given your MC a quirk which adds depth or to reinforce their personality?


  1. Interesting information here. In my college classes my psychology Professor had a similar study done as well and in all of his classes he had us write notes in our textbooks, write notes long hand on paper, and reread several chapters. I passed the class, and it was a really hard class.

    Thanks for sharing.

    That was a strange 24 hours.