Authors: Audrey van der Meer & F.R. (Ruud) van der Weel
Abstract: Electroencephalogram (EEG) was used in young adults to study brain electrical activity as they were writing or describing visually presented PictionaryTM words using a keyboard, or as they were drawing the same words using a stylus. Analyses of temporal spectral evolution (TSE, time-dependent amplitude changes) were performed on EEG data recorded with a 256-channel sensor array. Our results showed that in the drawing condition, brain areas in the parietal and occipital regions showed Event Related Desynchronizing (ERD) activity in the theta/alpha range. These findings are consistent with existing literature and are often reported to provide an optimal background for learning. In the describe condition, beta/gamma range activity in the central and frontal regions could be observed, especially during the early stage of cognitive processing. Such activity is often associated with the involvement of higher cognitive, topdown processes and the creation of ideas. It was concluded that because of its obvious benefits for sensory-motor integration and learning, hand written note-taking is introduced back into the classroom. Sensory-motor information for the control of (pen) movement is picked-up via the senses and because of their involvement they leave a wider mark on establishing pathways in the brain resulting in neural activity that governs all higher levels of cognitive processing and learning. Therefore, rich sensory-motor experiences seem to facilitate learning. With several new stylus technologies available on the market today this may be the way to go to have an electronic record of one's notes, while also having the benefit of being able to integrate the information as it comes in via the senses and is subsequently processed in the various parts of the brain through movement.
Keywords: PictionaryTM; Keyboard vs longhand writing; EEG; Power %; Note taking; ERD; ERS; TSE; Microsoft; Tablet; Laptop.