Recently, an article from Scientific American titled “The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: Why Paper Still Beats Screens” was brought to my attention. I have shared it with my current students but thought everyone would like to read the article. I encourage you to read the article (print, but then recycle the paper). Here are a few excerpts:
- “people often approach computers and tablets with a state of mind less conducive to learning than the one they bring to paper”
- “the reading circuits of five-year-old children crackled with activity when they practiced writing letters by hand but not when they typed letters on a keyboad”
- “when people read cursive writing or intricate characters such as Japanese kanji, the brain literally goes through the motions of writing, even if the hands are empty”
- “most digital devices interfere with intuitive navigation of a text and inhibit people from mapping the journey in their mind”
- “screens sometimes impair comprehension precisely because they distort people’s sense of place in a text”
- “prolonged reading on glossy, self-illuminated screens can cause eyestrain, headaches and blurred vision”
- “people who took a reading comprehension test on a computer scored lower and reported higher levels of stress and tiredness than people who completed it on paper”
- “students who read on paper learned the study material more thoroughly more quickly”
2014.10.06 Update: I am told the link no longer displays the full article. I have included a PDF here: 20131015_PaperVsScreensBig
2 thoughts on “Why paper still beats screens”
Unfortunately the link only shows a part of the article. The full-text version seems to require a subscription.
Thank you for pointing that out. I have added a link to the full article PDF.