Even though my handwriting has deteriorated do to age and use of computers, I have long maintained that this is the best way of capturing information.

Taking notes on a laptop, tablet, etc. has many issues, other than information retention.

  1. When I type, I find myself more concerned about correcting typos is real time than capturing what is being said.  And this is more acute when what I am typing is projected on a screen for the attendees to review.
  2. Then there are times when my laptop stops responding because of some background activity.  Then I have to wait for it to come back to see if it captured what I typed.  Another opportunity for missing what is being said.
  3. There are other distractions when using a laptop, tablet, etc. like notifications, incoming mail, chats, etc. that try to grab your attention away from what is being said.
  4. And when you are typing, you are acting more like a conduit of information like a court reporter.  You are just recording information, not internalizing and reinterpreting it because your brain is focussed on your fingers to click the correct keys instead of your hand writing a word on a piece of paper.
  5. And most important of all, technology like a laptop screen is a barrier between the person providing the information and the person recording the information.  The connection formed by eye contact and demanding attention can be lost when using technology.

This article from the Harvard Business Journal documents the results of several studies supporting handwritten note taking https://hbr.org/2015/07/what-you-miss-when-you-take-notes-on-your-l...

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I've known only one person who could consistently, reliably, and comfortably read *MY* handwriting! lol

That being said:

  1. I completely agree with your #3 but,
  2. I disagree agree with your #4 ... having typed millions of characters over the past 30+ years of typing, I've never felt like a mere conduit sans soul.  When it comes to expressing key concepts, a computer keyboard feels no less expressive to me than a pencil or pen (my favorite writing instrument).  And, too, there's a rhythmicity to computer keyboarding that's highly reminiscent of keyboarding on saxophone or flute or trumpet or piano or even on a drum which cannot so easily be replicated with pen or pencil.  And, of course, rhythm/rhythmicity is about the presence of life/the life force/Intelligence.  (Prefixes, affixes, and suffixes all lend themselves to being typed rhythmically because they're patterns of information.)  Finally, as someone who's highly "hand-oriented", I believe neither handwriting nor typewriting have to be subordinated to the other ... they're both viable and, indeed, beautiful opportunities for us to express all this beauty and optimism and even spirit which we sense within ourselves ... so, for me, the main thing is the object of expression ... not the instrument of expression....

Thanks, and #KeepSTRONG, Henry!

+Vincent Wright

Hi Vincent,

I forgot to put the context of #4 into my posting.  My comment only applies to when someone is taking notes with a keyboard.  In that situation you are acting as a conduit, there is no thinking, just transcribing what you hear.  That is probably the reason why the studies show that people who take handwritten notes perform better than people who use a keyboard or other technology.

Typing in the context of what you describe is entirely different.  When composing a document, writing a blog post, or responding like what I am doing now, does require a lot of brain power to translate what I want to say into commands to my fingers to type the correct keys.  Then I agree completely with you.  

I hope this distinction makes sense now.

With Kind Regards,

Yes, it does, Henry!  Thanks! 

Thats why I think the Livescribe pen I showed you is the way to go for note taking.  Sort of the best of both worlds!

Hi Gerald,

I think that you may be correct.  There must be some kind of psychological connection between the brain and your hand when writing that helps a lot with retention of information when taking notes.



If *that's* the case, wouldn't it stand to reason that retention of information would be even *higher* when taking notes with a keyboard since taking notes with a keyboard, almost by definition, includes using BOTH hands and all 10 digits of our hands...???

(For the record: I use only one hand when writing handwritten messages with pen/pencil but, use both hands when keyboarding via computer/typewriter, etc.)

Hi Vincent,

That is not what the studies referenced in the article indicate.  They ran several studies and students who took handwritten notes far outperformed students who used technology.  And I am speculating that the reasons for the difference include what I listed above.


That's truly intriguing, Henry!  (I look forward to finding out more about that when time permits...) Thanks! (And, of course, #KeepSTRONG! )

John Kennedy has done a lot of research in this space.
Check out www.conbatbraintraining.com

Lego also did some stuff on this around their SeriousPlay brand.

Myself I feel we think through our hands. And how we use to think with them affects how we think. For instance if we draw / handwrite we become more visual. If we type we become more auditory (hearing sounds and voice while we type... assuming we type using the right fingers).

As a student if you're a visual thinker then handwriting works best, and if you're an auditory thinker then typing works best.


Thanks, BIG-TIME for the Lego "SeriousPlay" brand REMINDER!  

I was just trying to recall it yesterday or the day before! :-) 

By the way: As hand-centric as my Wright Hand Organizer icon might suggest, I'm with you 100% on this statement of yours: " I feel we think through our hands."!!


#KeepSTRONG, Chris!



Hi Chris,

I think that your URL is incorrect.  it should be combatbraintraining not conbatbraintraining.

I agree that with you about "thinking through our hands."  We also communicate through our hands when speaking or angry with someone.  As an extreme example, people often react more to the "bird" than to the actual words behind the gesture!

But reflecting back on the Harvard Business Journal study, perhaps the auditory thinker does not retain as much information as the visual thinker, and therefore does not perform as well with recall.

I know for me that I can visualize when taking notes approximately where I wrote something down.  But since typing basically all looks the same, I do not have a memory of where I wrote or read something, unless there is something very unique about the formatting, which is therefore visual again.  Have you ever read something in a book and then tried to find the page and where on the page it is if all the pages look alike?


I think you're correct about Chris' URL, Henry: http://www.combatbraintraining.com/


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