Tag Archives: Sentences

Maybe The Handwriting Isn’t On The Wall After All

Our brain must understand that each possible iteration of, say, an “a” is the same, no matter how we see it written. Being able to decipher the messiness of each “a” may be more helpful in establishing that eventual representation than seeing the same result repeatedly.

The same research also notes that there could be a difference in the brains of young learners between those who only know how to print block letters (Hello! I’m mostly one of those. Long story.) and those who learn how to write in cursive.

In dysgraphia, a condition where the ability to write is impaired, sometimes after brain injury, the deficit can take on a curious form: In some people, cursive writing remains relatively unimpaired, while in others, printing does.

In alexia, or impaired reading ability, some individuals who are unable to process print can still read cursive, and vice versa — suggesting that the two writing modes activate separate brain networks and engage more cognitive resources than would be the case with a single approach.

That might not be all that much of a big deal, if it weren’t for the fact that cursive writing is disappearing as a subject being taught to the little dudes and dudettes in school. My youngest, Hyper Lad, really only had cursive for about a single year.

He had to learn the letters, try to put them together, and then was forced to write his spelling sentences in cursive each week for the rest of the year. And, really, that was it.

Now it’s years later and, because he didn’t get cursive reinforced in school and because his dad didn’t get a chance to really learn cursive his ownself, I now have to do the reading for him when it comes to cursive notes written by his oldest relatives. Annoying, but also, apparently, only the smallest of problems relating to not knowing cursive.

It turns out, the benefits of learning both handwriting and cursive will last through childhood and into adulthood. Most adults know how to type and consider it an efficient method for taking notes, certainly above using a messy handwriting. However, the very efficiency of typing could be working against adults trying to assimilate new information.

Two psychologists, Pam A. Mueller of Princeton and Daniel M. Oppenheimer of the University of California, Los Angeles, have reported that in both laboratory settings and real-world classrooms, students learn better when they take notes by hand than when they type on a keyboard. Contrary to earlier studies attributing the difference to the distracting effects of computers, the new research suggests that writing by hand allows the student to process a lecture’s contents and reframe it — a process of reflection and manipulation that can lead to better understanding and memory encoding.

All of which means . . . what?

I’m not going to say that you must emphasize handwriting in the young dudes and dudettes, but it’s looking like it might be a good idea.

Heck, even just having them handwrite the really important bits from their notes might offer a significant improvement in their ability to assimilate new information. Definitely something to think about as you sit down for your . . . erm. . . their homework come fall.

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A Dude’s Guide to Babies: Now In Intangible Form

Okay, dudes, it’s big news time.

It turns out, and I found this out purely by luck  (if by luck, you mean my obsessive checking of the Guide’s ranking on Amazon.com), that A Dude’s Guide to Babies now is available for the Kindle.

Ain’t that a kick in the paints?

I’d been pestering our publisher, Sellers Publishing, about when the book was going to be available in electronic format and the very instructive answer I’ve been getting is. . . “Soon.”

Apparently soon has arrived.

So, if you’re one of those new dads (or know one of those new dads) who like their information dropped in a digital knowledge bomb, then, dude, have I got a book for you. Notice there was no question mark at the end of that last sentence. See? Because it wasn’t a question, even though it was sort of phrased like one.

Because I do have the book for them. Or for you. Heck for any of you. Especially if you’ve purchased it in the paper form and now you want one you can carry around in your pocket without getting out the clown pants and the jumbo-sized cargo pockets.

Although, really, why wouldn’t you?

Still, if you want the Guide on your phone or tablet, there’s no excuse. And no waiting.

Go there now and start downloading. You can be reading a brand-spanking new guide to babies in mere moments.

What are you waiting for? Go. Download. Read.

Now. Go. Do.

Tired. Of. One. Word. Sentences. Already. Even. When. Said. Sentences. Have. More. Than. One. Syllable. Blech.

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Your Memory Has A Frightening Lesson For You

Or it could be more of a bad joke played on us by — maybe — evolution.

It seems that we’re more likely to remember — verbatim — a Facebook update than we are to remember a line from a book. Even worse, we’re much more likely to remember said Facebook update than we are to remember someone’s face.

Are we really evolutionarily fitted to Facebook? Is Facebook really the pinnacle of communication for the human race? Dudes, I sure hope not. That’s certainly a frightening thought.

Here, let’s hear it from the researchers themselves.

The international research, authored by researchers at the University of Warwick and University of California – San Diego, tested subjects’ memory for text taken from Facebook.

The text was comprised of people’s Facebook status updates that had been anonymized. That is, the status updates and wall posts were stripped of images and removed from the context of appearing on Facebook.

Researchers then compared subject’s memory of the Facebook post to their memory for sentences picked at random from books, as well as to human faces.

Investigators found that in the first memory test, participants’ memory for Facebook posts was about one and a half times greater than their memory for sentences from books.

In a second memory test, participants’ memory for Facebook posts was almost two and a half times as strong as it was for human faces.

Yes, really.

In the story from psychcentral.com, the writer and the study authors posit that these findings tell us that humans are adapted to remember and respond to informal writing, rather than the polished and formal writing you’d (hopefully) find in a book.

That is, our minds may better take in, store, and bring forth information gained from online posts because they are in what the researchers call ‘mind-ready’ formats – i.e., they are spontaneous, unedited and closer to natural speech.

These features seem to give them a special memorability, with similar results being found for Twitter posts as well as comments under online news articles.

Personally, dudes, I think they’re wrong. I think they’re leaving out the most important point of all this. The Facebook posts are more emotionally involving because we know they involve real people living real lives and talking about real episodes from those lives. The books, well, they’re just books. They’re not emotionally involving when you’re only reading a sentence or two.

As for the facial recognition, that’s the same thing. We’re conditioned to look and then look away at a face, to not notice because looking too long gets perceived as bad behavior. We’re going against all our cultural training to look at and remember a picture. Gossip, though. . . Well, gossip is something we all remember.

Leaving out the emotional component leaves me thinking this is sort of suspect, these conclusions. That’s just me, though. What do you think?

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