Does Cursive Writing Boost Brain Development and Make Us Smarter?

23 maart 2024 | Ontwikkeling Brein

Despite the rapid pace of the digital age, it’s still too soon to toss the paper and pen. Actually, you may never want to stop writing for good as long as you want to further develop your brain.

In an age of keyboards and touch-screens, some might argue that teaching cursive is a vestigial nicety in today’s classrooms. Even handwriting, much less cursive writing, is neglected in the national curriculum guidelines supported by 45 states at the end of 2012.

Many educators and scientists, however, are railing against the trend.

“It might be fine,” says Indiana University psychology professor Karin James, referring to the option of not teaching handwriting in school, “but we don’t know that. And the research is pointing to that it might not be fine; you might be setting up a child’s brain to interpret letters and words in a very different way.”

James herself conducted an experiment in 2011 in which she scanned the brains of four- and five-year olds before and after half of them had been taught to visually recognize chosen letters and the other half had been taught to write them. After four weeks, brain scans showed that the minds in the second group had enormous spikes in activity in the reading network.

“Typing seems to be different than handwriting. You’re actually creating those forms with your hands. That seems to be making a difference.”

Mike Barrett
January 5, 2024

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