Laboratory of Informatics of Grenoble Équipe Ingénierie de l'Interaction Humain-Machine

Équipe Ingénierie de l'Interaction

Writing words by hand and by phone: Differences in the timing of orthographic processing


Anna Anastaseni, Quentin Roy, Cyril Perret, Antonio Romano, Sonia Kandel


Texting and email writing with smartphones are activities that are done regularly by a very importantproportion of the population. Phonewriting (PW) differs from handwriting (HW) in many ways.Previous HW research revealed that the orthographic processes modulate movement production(see APOMI, Kandel, 2023). Do spelling processes also affect hand movements in PW? To answer thisquestion, we focused on orthographic processing in HW and PW in a spelling-to-dictation task inFrench. We manipulated orthographic consistency and length. First, the participant had to write thewords by hand in upper-case letters on a digitizer. One month later, they had to write the words on asmartphone. We collected data on latency, letter movement duration, errors and online corrections.The data revealed that the timing of orthographic processing differs between handwriting andphonewriting. Latencies -i.e., the time before starting to write- were longer in PW than HW. Incontrast, once we start writing the word, the hand movements took longer in HW than PW. AlthoughPW takes less writing time, errors and online corrections are far more frequent than in HW. Latenciesfor orthographically inconsistent words were longer than for consistent words, both in HW and PW.However, the mean letter duration of orthographically inconsistent words was longer than forconsistent words only in HW but not for PW. Also, inconsistent words elicited a higher number ofphonologically plausible errors than consistent words, in HW and PW.The impact of the technological progress due to the telephone is to decrease the time we spendwriting but the cognitive cost is that we produce more errors and online corrections. Regardingorthographic processing, HW and PW are very different. In PW most of the central processing is donebefore starting to write. In HW, spelling processes start before movement initiation but are stillactive while we write. This modulates movement production.