Not everyone has the knack to effectively write down their thoughts but a new study offers a hint on how anyone can improve their writing skills. The trick is to simply type slower.
In the new research, Srdan Medimorec and Evan Risko from the University of Waterloo found that writing at a slower speed can enhance people's way with words.
For the study, the researchers asked a group of undergraduate students to type essays that describe a memorable school day, an event with a positive impact on them and their position on a ban on cellular phones in schools.
By using a text analysis software, the researchers found that some aspects of essay writing, such as the vocabulary's sophistication, improved among participants who only typed with one hand.
The researchers said that the study is the first to show that interfering with the way people write can help improve their writing.
Medimorec said that typing can be too fluent or too fast and this can negatively affect the writing process.
"It seems that what we write is a product of the interactions between our thoughts and the tools we use to express them," Medimorec said.
Risko said that they're not urging students to write their term papers using only one hand but the results of the study revealed that going fast has its negative implications.
The authors think that when forced to slow down their typing, writers get more time to conduct an internal word search, which allows them to have more variation of terms that they can subsequently choose from to use. Fast typists, on the other hand, may write down the first word that they think of and this may result in poorer prose.
"We demonstrate that decreased fluency can benefit certain aspects of writing and discuss potential mechanisms underlying disfluency effects in essay writing," the researchers wrote in their study, which was published in the British Journal of Psychology on Jan. 20.
The researchers said that writing ability could by improved by a slower pace whether a person uses a keyboard, text-to-speech program or pen and paper, albeit they admitted that further researcher is still needed to validate this.