The effect of real-time auditory feedback on learning new characters

Authors: Danna J., Fontaine M., Paz-Villagrán V., Gondre C., Thoret E., Aramaki M., Kronland-Martinet R., Ystad S., Velay J-L.
Publication Date: December 2014
Journal: Human Movement Science (in press)



The present study investigated the effect of handwriting sonification on graphomotor learning. Thirty-two adults, distributed in two groups, learned four new characters with their non-dominant hand. The experimental design included a pre-test, a training session, and two post-tests, one just after the training sessions and another 24 h later. Two characters were learned with and two without real-time auditory feedback (FB). The first group first learned the two non-sonified characters and then the two sonified characters whereas the reverse order was adopted for the second group. Results revealed that auditory FB improved the speed and fluency of handwriting movements but reduced, in the short-term only, the spatial accuracy of the trace. Transforming kinematic variables into sounds allows the writer to perceive his/her movement in addition to the written trace and this might facilitate handwriting learning. However, there were no differential effects of auditory FB, neither long-term nor short-term for the subjects who first learned the characters with auditory FB. We hypothesize that the positive effect on the handwriting kinematics was transferred to characters learned without FB. This transfer effect of the auditory FB is discussed in light of the Theory of Event Coding.


• Adults learned to write new characters with their non-dominant hand.

• Half characters were learned with the auditory feedback.

• The auditory feedback improves the handwriting kinematics.

• This effect transfers to characters learned without sounds.