London: Children who write by hand make for better learners than those who type as researchers say something seems to be lost in the brain process when switching from pen and book to computer screen and keyboard.
This is because reading and writing involves a number of our senses, the journal Advances in Haptics reports.
When writing by hand, the movements involved leave an imprint in the part of the brain called the sensorimotor. This process helps humans recognise letters, according to the Daily Mail.
Simply touching and typing on a keyboard produces a different response in the brain, which means it does not strengthen the learning mechanism in the same way.
In tests, two groups of volunteers were asked to learn an unknown alphabet. The first was taught to write the letters by hand, while the other used keyboards.
At weekly intervals, their recollections of the alphabet were recorded. And those who learned the letters through reading and writing came out best.
Anne Mangen, reading expert from Stavanger University in Norway, and neurophysiologist Jean-Luc Velay, Marseille University in France, conducted the study.
Other experiments suggest the brain's Broca area linked to speech is discernibly more activated when we read a verb linked to a physical activity, compared with being read as an abstract verb or a verb not associated with any action.
"This also happens when you observe someone doing something. You don't have to do anything yourself," Mangen said.