The Frightening Pen

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The contemporary fountain pen was apparently invented in the late 1820s by Romanian Petrache Poenaru. Studying in Paris, he needed something that would save him time while he took notes. How far the world has come.

Apparently the using a red pen causes teachers to grade harshly, or something. According to an article by Tom Jacobs in Miller-McCune:

A study in the European Journal of Social Psychology suggests the use of red pens may make teachers more likely to spot errors on tests and to be more critical when grading essays. “Despite teachers’ efforts to free themselves from extraneous influences while grading,” write California State University Northridge psychologist Abraham Rutchick, Tufts University psychologist Michael Slepian and Bennett Ferris of Phillips Exeter Academy, “the very act of picking up a red pen can bias their evaluations.”

Apparently the very act of using red pen triggers the part of one’s brain that spots errors. Accoriding to the article, “The researchers note that red pens ‘have long been associated with errors.’”

Well right. The study does not appear to indicate the teachers armed with the dreaded blood-colored styluses graded unfairly, however. That’s why people use red pens when they’re grading and correcting, to spot mistakes. [Image via]

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer