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Typing Fast Doesn't Improve Writing -- It Does The Opposite: Study

Slow down, fast fingers.
Close-up of business people's hands in the office.
Klaus Vedfelt via Getty Images
Close-up of business people's hands in the office.

In this day and age, it's rare not to be quick with your fingers, but one study is urging all of us to slow down.

According to a recent report by researchers at the University of Waterloo, the quality of one's writing is likely to improve if they avoid typing quickly.

“Typing can be too fluent or too fast, and can actually impair the writing process,” Srdan Medimorec, a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Arts at Waterloo said in a statement. “It seems that what we write is a product of the interactions between our thoughts and the tools we use to express them.”

The study, which was published in the British Journal of Psychology, asked some participants to type essays with both hands and others to type with one. According to Medimorec's team, participants who used one hand took more time to come up with words and even used a larger vocabulary. People who typed fast, the study notes, probably went with the first word that came to mind.

When it comes to writing, other studies have suggested writing with a pen (yes, this is still a thing), is still better than typing away at a keyboard. One professor of developmental psychology from the University of Geneva told the Guardian in 2014 handwriting was a "complex task," which requires humans to use several skills.

“Children take several years to master this precise motor exercise: you need to hold the scripting tool firmly while moving it in such a way as to leave a different mark for each letter," he explained to the site.

Typing on a keyboard, he adds, does not have the same effect.

Waterloo researchers, meanwhile, note they believe writing quickly can have the same detrimental effect as typing quickly, but more research needs to be conducted.



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