The E-book Skeptic

When it comes to reading, is digital dumber?
From peer-reviewed studies comparing reading on paper to reading on a screen in the areas of comprehension and long-term memory:

"The results suggest that print information is easier to retrieve...Differences between print and screen media are persistent and not readily explained by any of the obvious individual factors--comfort/familiarity, preference, and reading time...The central theme to emerge from this study is that individuals have a better ability to recall after viewing materials in print rather than on screen"

"...a trend in the data indicated comprehension scores were lower for those reading from a screen..."

"...strong results imply that there is a difference between the printed page and the screen that should not be ignored, and it makes a difference, at minimum, to memory for information... Print is consistently better for recall than screen..."

"...knowledge is more readily retrieved when presented in paper format..."

"The knowledge transition was much more rapid for those learning from printed material.."

"...the way in which knowledge was retrieved varied between the presentational formats. These differences were time related and suggest that repeated exposure and rehearsal of computer-based information is necessary to equate knowledge application with that achievable from hard copy alternatives."

...screen-based reading behavior is characterized by more time spent on browsing and scanning, keyword spotting, one-time reading, non-linear reading, and reading more selectively, while less time is spent on in-depth reading, and concentrated reading. Decreasing sustained attention is also noted."

"These findings suggest that even though youth may report a greater preference for interactive digital media, traditional printed formats may provide a more effective environment for learning and persuasion."

College students reading from a screen:
--found their reading less interesting
--took new ideas less seriously, and
--found new ideas less persuasive
than students reading the same material on paper.

For more about these quotes and the studies they came from, click on "The Research in Detail" and "About the Research" on the top left.

Don't try this at home!