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Saturday morning quotes 3.26: Gone reading…

November 9, 2013

We frequently observe far too many people aimlessly thumbing their phones in public places, and far too few people actually reading things that are printed on paper. It turns out that the arcane antique practice of reading things on physical printed paper that one can experience in a tactile manner through the sense of touch results in a better quality of comprehension.

To set a positive example—and perhaps even squeeze in a little rehearsal time—today’s quote is drawn from an article that reminds us to turn off the computer from time to time and live a little.

From the article, “The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: The Science of Paper versus Screens,” by Ferris Jabr, Scientific American, Thursday, April 11, 2013

Psychologists distinguish between remembering something—which is to recall a piece of information along with contextual details, such as where, when and how one learned it—and knowing something, which is feeling that something is true without remembering how one learned the information. Generally, remembering is a weaker form of memory that is likely to fade unless it is converted into more stable, long-term memory that is “known” from then on. When taking the quiz, volunteers who had read study material on a monitor relied much more on remembering than on knowing, whereas students who read on paper depended equally on remembering and knowing.

  1. Erika permalink

    For me, the great thing with screen-based is that I can enlarge the text to a size that I can read (and fiddle with contrast and even, in extreme cases, copy and paste into Word and change the font to one that is more readable) – I really need new glasses!

    • Thanks for your comment, Erika. Reading on a screen can indeed make life easier in so many ways. But that is assuming one already possesses the comprehension skills gained through years of reading printed matter. If a child learns to read only via screen-based text, just imagine how little he or she knows, versus merely how much he or she merely remembers.


      • Erika permalink

        True confessions time! The other side of the coin is writing and I keep a somewhat sporadic diary written with a dip pen in order to maintain my handwriting skills!

  2. Ned Mast permalink

    Thank you for posting this very interesting and important observation. I’m one of those – from an ‘older’ generation – who is far more comfortable reading from paper than from a screen. Perhaps I should let my friends know that if they forward something to me to read on my computer, it had better be brief!


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