This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Nuts and Bolts: time to think. Typing with one hand.

A study at the University of Waterloo in Canada has found that student essays typed with one hand are richer in vocabulary than those typed with two.

The conclusion of the authors is that typing with two hands makes recording thoughts too easy.

'Typing can be too fluent or fast, and can actually impair the writing process,' said Srdan Medimorec, a PhD candidate and the lead author of the study. 

The authors of the study observe that the speed of one-handed typing is about the same as writing by hand (though I don't know whether that's the speed of writing very small or very large, or with a pencil, a fountain pen, or a dip-pen. My own experience from primary school is that a dip-pen is not conducive to focused thought - though I have to admit that Shakespeare seems to have managed reasonable well).

'This is the first study to show that when you interfere with people's typing, their writing can get better,' said Professor Evan Risko, senior author of the study. He goes on: '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. This is important to consider as writing tools emerge that let us get our thoughts onto the proverbial page faster and faster.'

So, did I type this post with one hand? No. Perhaps I'll try it one day. Two thoughts: first, the evidence of history is that every age and technology throws up the occasional genius of a writer; second, this study doesn't seem to allow for the influence of the second or subsequent drafts. Or the long walk to clear the brain.

Or. let's face it, even how good people are at typing.

I'll tell you what, though: I'd be really interested in the results of a study into what happens when an essay is typed with either the dominant or the non-dominant hand.

Thing To Try Today: Type One-Handed. The word type comes from the Latin typus, figure, from the Greek tupos, image, from tuptein, to strike.

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