Why paper still beats screens

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

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