Over 500,000 people visited Farnam Street last month to learn how to make better decisions, create new ideas, and avoid stupid errors. With more than 100,000 subscribers to our popular weekly digest, we've become an online intellectual hub. To learn more about what we do, start here.

How Important is Handwriting?

How Important is Handwriting

Hardly at all you might say, especially today when most people use a computer.

The evidence, however, says otherwise.

In a revealing experiment (Nisbett and Wilson 1977), a number of exam scripts were copied twice – once in good handwriting and once in bad handwriting. They were then passed on to two groups of examiners who were told to mark them and were specifically instructed to mark for content.

Amazingly, the poorly-written scripts got significantly lower marks than the others.

Why did such a thing happen? The answer is the Halo Effect.