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"Handwriting" redirects here. For scripts for writing down notes by hand, see "Cursive".


Two styles of printing

Penmanship or handwriting is the art of writing with the hand and a writing instrument, such as a pen or pencil. Styles of handwriting are also called hands or scripts.

Handwriting is historically the widest taught motor skill. It is also one of the first, and often the only motor skill children will learn at elementary school. They usually begin by printing before moving on to cursive writing.It takes years of practice and maturing before a person has mastered the adult handwriting skill. Handwriting is not only considered as the only movement that leaves a visible trace of ink on paper (product) but it can also be considered as a movement (process). Understanding of the handwriting product will not be complete until the handwriting process is understood. Therefore, handwriting movement has been researched since measurement techniques became available.

Motor control[edit | edit source]

Handwriting requires the motor coordination of multiple joints in the hand, wrist, elbow, and shoulder to form letters and to arrange them on the page. Holding the pen and guiding it across paper depends mostly upon sensory information from skin, joints and muscles of the hand and this adjusts movement to changes in the friction between pen and paper.[1] With practice and familiarity, handwriting becomes highly automated using motor programs stored in motor memory.[2] Compared to other complex motor skills handwriting is far less dependent on a moment-to-moment visual guidance.[3][4]

Research in individuals with complete peripheral deafferentation with and without vision of their writing hand finds increase of number of pen touches, increase in number of inversions in velocity, decrease of mean stroke frequency and longer writing movement duration. The changes show that cutaneous and proprioceptive feedback play a critical role in updating the motor memories and internal models that underlie handwriting. In contrast, sight provides only a secondary role in adjusting motor commands.[4]

See also[edit | edit source]

References & Bibliography[edit | edit source]

  1. Lacquaniti F. (1989). Central representations of human limb movement as revealed by studies of drawing and handwriting. Trends Neurosci. 12(8):287-91. PMID 2475946
  2. van der Plaats RE, van Galen GP. (1990).Effects of spatial and motor demands in handwriting. J Mot Behav. 22(3):361-85. PMID 15117665
  3. Marquardt C, Gentz W, Mai N. (1999). Visual control of automated handwriting movements. Exp Brain Res. 128(1-2):224-8. PMID 10473764
  4. 4.0 4.1 Hepp-Reymond MC, Chakarov V, Schulte-Mönting J, Huethe F, Kristeva R. (2009). Role of proprioception and vision in handwriting. Brain Res Bull. 79(6):365-70. PMID 19463909 DOI:10.1016/j.brainresbull.2009.05.013

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