You Might Like Books Better, But Your Brain Doesn’t Care

A recent paper at PLOS ONE postulates that although you may subjectively prefer to read from printed paper, it actually takes no more effort for you to get just as much from reading on an e-reader or tablet.

Figure 2. Ratings for the pleasantness of reading (choice of preferred reading medium) in absolute numbers of answers. 

For those of us in schools it’s interesting to see the differing results from young adults and explanations of that difference.

From the abstract:

“In the rapidly changing circumstances of our increasingly digital world, reading is also becoming an increasingly digital experience: electronic books (e-books) are now outselling print books in the United States and the United Kingdom. Nevertheless, many readers still view e-books as less readable than print books. The present study thus used combined EEG and eyetracking measures in order to test whether reading from digital media requires higher cognitive effort than reading conventional books….Our findings thus indicate that people’s subjective evaluation of digital reading media must be dissociated from the cognitive and neural effort expended in online information processing while reading from such devices.”

Read the rest of this open access, peer reviewed paper:

Subjective Impressions Do Not Mirror Online Reading Effort: Concurrent EEG-Eyetracking Evidence from the Reading of Books and Digital Media

Via Library Link of the Day


Filed under Education, eReaders in the School Library, Reading

2 responses to “You Might Like Books Better, But Your Brain Doesn’t Care

  1. I’ve not ever read anything on an e-reader. As long as there is a lap associated with the reading material, I’m happy. Real books smell better tho. Did they measure smellability?

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