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Study: Typing slowly may encourage better writing

Requiring students to type with just one hand slowed their pace to roughly the speed at which people write with pen and ink.
By Brooks Hays   |   Jan. 21, 2016 at 1:20 PM

WATERLOO, Ontario, Jan. 21 (UPI) -- What did Orwell, Wolfe and Updike have in common? They all typed with one hand. Not really, but new research out of Canada suggests they might have written even better novels if they had.

A new study, published in the British Journal of Psychology, suggests slower typing improves the quality of one's writing. When study participants, undergraduates at the University of Waterloo, were asked to write an essay -- some using only one hand and others using two -- those with their typing abilities impeded produced the best work.

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Researchers employed a computer program to analyze the essays for sophistication of vocabulary and syntax.

"This is the first study to show that when you interfere with people's typing, their writing can get better," senior study author Evan F. Risko, a professor and cognitive scientist at Waterloo, said in a press release.

"We're not saying that students should write their term papers with one hand, but our results show that going fast can have its drawbacks," Risko explained. "This is important to consider as writing tools continue to emerge that let us get our thoughts onto the proverbial page faster and faster."

Risko and his colleagues believe their conclusion could be applied to all forms of writing tools, but their data can't confirm such a claim.

Requiring students to type with just one hand slowed their pace down to roughly the speed at which people write with pen and ink, which suggests forgoing a computer might not be a bad idea.

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