Investigating the lower level demands of writing: Handwriting movements interfere with immediate verbal serial recall

Richard Tindle, Mitchell G. Longstaff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The research identifies if handwriting captures attention for significant periods, resulting in a decline in working memory performance. Additionally, the experiments isolate whether the movements produced during handwriting contribute to that interference. To do this, verbal serial recall was compared between three different tasks − a listening task; a listening + handwriting task (i.e., motor and verbal demands); and a listening + handwriting-like drawing task (i.e., motor demands), in two experiments. Results showed that verbal serial recall was worse in the handwriting and drawing conditions compared to the listening condition. The handwriting and drawing conditions did not differ. In a third experiment, handwriting fluency was compared between a recall and no-recall task. This showed that handwriting fluency remains stable despite the addition of a verbal working memory task. In conclusion, the handwriting movements capture attention for significant periods, with little deterioration in recall due to the verbal component of handwriting.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-461
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Cognitive Psychology
Volume28
Issue number4
Early online date10 Jan 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 May 2016

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