Futurity. The study was headed by Virginia Berninger, University of Washington professor of educational psychology who studies normal writing development and writing disabilities.
The study tested children at three tasks, writing the alphabet both by hand on keyboard; writing a sentence based on one prompt word, both by hand and on keyboard; and writing essays on given topics in 10 minutes.
Victor Burg who taught writing at the Kennedy School of Government during late 1980s and early 1990s often recommended those with writers block to try handwritten drafts. He was advising graduate students tackling assignments on economic and public policy and supervising writing instructors who prepared mid-career students for the graduate program. At the time I was surprised but have since come to realize that it's solid advice for any writing project.
In Fear of Beauty, much of Sofi's personality and voice was developed with handwriting in a notebook, an activity this character had long yearned to try. The task becomes more urgent after the death of her son and she wants to preserve his memory. Yet even securing a pencil and notebook requires subterfuge.
Photo of statue of Isaiah holding pen at Piazza Spagna in Rome, courtesy of gnuckx and Wikimedia Commons.