Is any study that proof people with messy or fast handwriting have high IQ?

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome. We work somewhat differently from other SE sites; Psych&Neurosci, along with its sister site Bio.SE, require that the question is accompanied by some background research. This is a great way to clarify, focus and flesh out the question. In this case, for instance, I can think of a score of other reasons why handwriting can be fast or messy (Parkinson's, MS, heavy drinking, ADHD etc.). What have you found so far on the matter in relation to IQ? $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Feb 2, 2023 at 7:21

1 Answer 1


For handwriting quality (which is defined by factors like legibility, readability, leaving enough space between words), the opposite is true. In several scientific studies among school aged children it was found that there is a significant positive correlation between quality of handwriting and cognitive ability/academic achievement (McCarney et al., 2013; McCarroll & Fletcher, 2017). There's not a lot of research on handwriting quality among adults in general terms, but if you are interested you could look into research that focuses on adults with autisme spectrum disorder or down syndrome (although results are similar: handwriting quality is related to cognitive development).

Now speed is a different thing! Being able to write quickly is important in note-taking and other metacognitive processes (Peverly, 2006; Peverly et al., 2014). While there may not be a direct relation between handwriting speed and intelligence, it is quite likely that being able to write fast is helpful in cognitive development. In other words: you don't necessarily write fast because you are smart, but writing fast can help you become smarter. Not because writing fast in itself makes you smarter, but because it facilitates cognitive processes that do.

  • McCarney, D., Peters, L., Jackson, S., Thomas, M., & Kirby, A. (2013) Does Poor Handwriting Conceal Literacy Potential in Primary School Children?, International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, 60 (2), 105-118, DOI: 10.1080/1034912X.2013.786561
  • McCarroll, H. & Fletcher, T. (2017) Does handwriting instruction have a place in the instructional day? The relationship between handwriting quality and academic success, Cogent Education, 4(1), DOI: 10.1080/2331186X.2017.1386427
  • Peverly, S. T. (2006). The importance of handwriting speed in adult writing. Developmental Neuropsychology, 29(1), 197-216.
  • Peverly, S. T., Garner, J. K., & Vekaria, P. C. (2014). Both handwriting speed and selective attention are important to lecture note-taking. Reading and Writing, 27, 1-30.

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