Want to improve the quality of your writing? Type slowly! The quality of your writing, such as sophistication of vocabulary, is likely to get better if you simply type slower, a new study suggests. Researchers from the University of Waterloo in Canada asked study participants to type essays using both hands or with only one.
Participants in the study, who were undergraduate students, wrote essays describing a memorable school day for them, an event that had a positive effect on them, and that asked them to defend their position on a ban on cellular telephones in high schools. Using text-analysis software, the team discovered that some aspects of essay writing, such as sophistication of vocabulary, improved when participants used only one hand to type.
The results led researchers to speculate that slowing down participants’ typing by asking them to use only one hand, allowed more time for internal word search, resulting in a larger variety of words. Fast typists may have simply written the first word that came to mind. Speed could affect writing quality regardless of the tools, whether they are text-to-speech programmes, computers or a pen and paper, researchers suggested.
“Typing can be too fluent or too fast, and can actually impair the writing process,” said Srdan Medimorec from University of Waterloo, who led the study. “It seems that what we write is a product of the interactions between our thoughts and the tools we use to express them,” Medimorec added.
“This is the first study to show that when you interfere with people’s typing, their writing can get better,” said Evan F Risko from University of Waterloo. The findings were published in the British Journal of Psychology.