Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Saturday, August 23, 2014

A new study found that readers using an Amazon Kindle ebook reader were "significantly" worse than paperback readers at recalling when events occurred in a mystery story. "The Kindle readers performed significantly worse on the plot reconstruction measure, ie, when they were asked to place 14 events in the correct order," states a study led by Anne Mangen of Norway's Stavanger University.

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In a related study, Kindle readers had a difficult time listing all 50 shades of grey...

#1 | Posted by catdog at 2014-08-23 12:08 PM | Reply | Flag:

"When you read on paper you can sense with your fingers a pile of pages on the left growing, and shrinking on the right," said Mangen. "You have the tactile sense of progress, in addition to the visual ... [The differences for Kindle readers] might have something to do with the fact that the fixity of a text on paper, and this very gradual unfolding of paper as you progress through a story, is some kind of sensory offload, supporting the visual sense of progress when you're reading. Perhaps this somehow aids the reader, providing more fixity and solidity to the reader's sense of unfolding and progress of the text, and hence the story."

Very interesting. Always assumed reading was eyes and brain only. Never thought the feel of the book, paper, etc added to the experience of reading.

One BIG Question: How does this translate to understanding by those who read their news online vs a newspaper?

#2 | Posted by kanrei at 2014-08-23 12:17 PM | Reply | Flag:

If you read the actual study, it does not support this conclusion unambiguously. It supports this conclusion only under a limited set of circumstances, and one that is rapidly vanishing: whether or not the readers grew up using books or digital readers.

Makes sense to me. It's similar to the reason why nicotine supplements aren't silver bullets against smoking.

It's sad that headlines like this are allowed.

#3 | Posted by soheifox at 2014-08-23 12:40 PM | Reply | Flag:

commonly used, not grew up using. The fact that it was tenth graders stuck in my head wrong, heh.

#4 | Posted by soheifox at 2014-08-23 12:42 PM | Reply | Flag:

This doesn't surprise me. The Kindle isn't the same as reading a paper book. I have one, but don't use it much; it can't compare.

#5 | Posted by nullifidian at 2014-08-23 12:59 PM | Reply | Flag:

"It's sad that headlines like this are allowed."

What a whiner.

#6 | Posted by nullifidian at 2014-08-23 03:01 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

I have a Kindle I love thanks to the fact I can carry a whole library with me easily. I do enjoy paper books more but I have adapted to the kindle.

I don't think I have any issue recalling major plot points in what I read on the Kindle.

One factor I think may not being looked at is the readers themselves. E-books make reading so much easier I think it is bringing more people to books. If those people were not serious readers previously then it stands to reason they will miss more in e-reading.

I don't know for sure but I will say you can have my Kindle when you pry it from in front of my cold dead eyes. The fact that I can request a book from the library and download it from the comfort of home is just too handy to give up.

#7 | Posted by TaoWarrior at 2014-08-23 04:08 PM | Reply | Flag:

As an avid reader I also prefer actual books. That said, I do have books on my iPhone to kill time while at a doctor's office, auto shop etc.

#8 | Posted by MSgt at 2014-08-23 04:25 PM | Reply | Flag:

I'm not surprised by the finding. For me there is most definitely a spacial awareness of what happened where in the book - the physical object as well as the plot. The more parts of the brain tied into an event, the more likely it being to remember seems like something I've heard in relation to other subjects as well: learning a musical piece on an instrument instead of simply hearing it, for instance.

That said, I've already noticed this some with myself and try to read more actively and attentively on my Nook - because the same as everyone else seems to be here - I love physical books, but I love carrying a library on me in a small space more.

#9 | Posted by zeropointnrg at 2014-08-23 09:23 PM | Reply | Flag:

i would think researchers need people in both control groups whose reading comprehension has been assessed from the outset.

i liked the idea about the physicality of a book, the left side enlarging as the right side diminishes. If i'm looking for some passage in a book to sharpen my memory of plot or character, i usually have an idea whether that information was on the left or right page.

i also wondered if this comprehension difference has anything to do with "light-through" (the electronic device) as opposed to "light-reflected" (the printed page).

(i read most of the news i consume online; but have never read a complete novel that way.)

(i just read Neil Young's autobiography "Waging Heavy Peace," and he makes the point, repeatedly, that the music people hear in CD & MP3 format consists of about 15% of the dynamics one gets with the old high fidelity systems, i.e., quality of life is diminishing via modernization.)

#10 | Posted by kenx at 2014-08-24 05:55 AM | Reply | Flag:

As I read at least two books per week, I prefer actual books, too...I am no fan of books in any other format... I love viewing my wall-lined shelves of all of the books that I have collected and read over the years; have every book purchased since college. I did try the Nook once and found a huge disconnection over reading an actual book...but, that's my choice...!!! I hope that we never see books in print fade away; would be a sad day...!!!

#11 | Posted by drsoul at 2014-08-24 04:15 PM | Reply | Flag:

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