Theses Doctoral

An Investigation of Cognitive Processes Associated with Notetaking and Notes-Review

Kodaira, Yoko

Notetaking is a cognitively complex academic task that requires the execution of multiple cognitive processes within a limited capacity working memory (Peverly et al., 2007; Peverly & Sumowski, 2012; Piolat, Olive, & Kellogg, 2005). Several studies have investigated cognitive processes related to notetaking, but only one has looked at variables related to notes-review (Hadwin, Kirby, & Woodhouse, 1999). Also, most studies have focused on handwritten notes, and the few studies that have evaluated the effect of writing medium (handwriting or typing) on notes have been limited and equivocal (Bui, Myerson & Hale, 2013; Mueller & Oppenheimer, 2014). This study examined cognitive differences related to lecture notetaking, notes-review, and performance on a multiple-choice test that included memory and inference items. In addition, this study explored differences between handwriting and typing on notes and notes-review. Eighty undergraduate students were randomly assigned to handwrite or type notes, review them, and complete a multiple-choice test based on the lecture. They also completed a measure of letter speed consistent with their experimental condition, along with measures of language comprehension, sustained attention, background knowledge, and metacognition. MANOVAs found significant differences in letter speed between handwriting and typing groups, but no significant differences in overall notetaking or notes-review. The handwriting condition showed evidence of more transformation and organization of lecture information between notetaking and notes-review than with typing. Regression analyses found that letter speed and language comprehension predicted notetaking. Notes-review was positively and significantly related to notetaking, language comprehension, and writing medium. Typed notes were more strongly related to notes-review than handwritten notes. A significant letter speed x metacognition interaction for notetaking and a significant letter speed x sustained attention interaction for notes-review suggest that basic cognitive processes (letter speed) need to be sufficiently automatized in order for higher cognitive processes to be applied effectively. Test performance overall and performance on inference items were predicted by notes-review and writing medium. The latter indicated that handwriting was more strongly related to test performance than typing. Findings suggest that handwriting may enable deeper processing of information compared to typing. Future studies should continue to include interactions between cognitive variables to support the theory of hierarchical processing within a limited capacity working memory. Further research on the effects of writing medium on notes and notes-review will improve understanding of the effects of handwriting and typing on these processes.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
School Psychology
Thesis Advisors
Peverly, Stephen T.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
August 8, 2017