From Hand to Eye: a Meta-Analysis of the Benefit from Handwriting Training in Visual Graph Recognition

Araújo, Susana & Domingues, Miguel & Fernandes, Tânia. (2022). From Hand to Eye: a Meta-Analysis of the Benefit from Handwriting Training in Visual Graph Recognition. Educational Psychology Review. 10.1007/s10648-021-09651-4. 

Handwriting (HW) training seems to boost recognition of visual graphs (letters) and learning to read more than other learning experiences. However, effects across studies appear to be variable and the underlying cognitive mechanism has been elusive. Researchers conducted a meta-analysis to determine the magnitude of this HW benefit in letter recognition, while better understanding the underlying cognitive mechanism. The benefit from HW training was moderate-to-large and significant and was also modulated by the type of control training (larger relative to motor than to visual control), phonological training (larger when it was absent than present), and granularity of visual discrimination (larger for fine-grained than coarse-grained). These results seem consistent with other observations that the advantage from HW training in letter recognition is about perceptual learning rather than the motor act. Researchers conclude that HW training is effective to improve letter recognition, and is still relevant for literacy instruction in the present digital era.

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