Paper Rules: The Science of Laptops vs Pen & Paper

memory studying

Whether you're studying for school, or in a work meeting trying to process more information: Reach for paper (not your laptop) to get the most gains from your brain.


THE SCIENCE: Studies show that taking notes on paper, aka analog style, increases your brain's ability to both understand AND remember the information later (compared to taking notes on your trusty laptop). 

  • One study found that students performed worse on tests of conceptual knowledge (vs strict memorizing) when they took notes on laptops instead of on paper. 
  • Another study shows that writing with pen or paper improves retention of information (vs using a keyboard) because it taps into motor functions of the brain.  Motor functions have a built-in magic sauce: Muscle memory. Muscle memory is one of the chillest and yet most powerful super powers that animals have.  

This is one of the reasons why we're massive fans of notebooks -- they allow us to leverage this rad science, while also keep things tidy and mobile (vs a stack of sticky notes, which are hard to carry around), in a way that is superbly affordable and accessible to humans (unlike digital pens, we're not quite there yet with those).  In our next post, we'll cover a quick tip for keeping your notebook easy to scan and streamlined, a method that doesn't require you to dive into a rabbit hole of journal theory, unless of course you want to :)

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