The debate over e-books versus print has crackled along like a holiday fire. Scientific American weighed in last month with a piece called “Why the Brain Prefers Paper.”
Author Ferris Jabr, an associate editor at the magazine, reports pretty straightforwardly that people understand and remember text on paper better than on a screen. And that includes “digital natives,” those who have grown up in a wired world.
A key reason for this is that when we read a text, particularly a long one, we make our way through it in a way not unlike the way in which we navigate through a landscape. “Much as we might recall that we passed the red farmhouse near the start of a hiking trail before we started climbing uphill through the forest, we remember that we read about Mr. Darcy rebuffing Elizabeth Bennett at a dance on the bottom left corner of the left-hand page in one of the earlier chapters of Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ ” Mr. Jabr writes.
Moreover, paper seems to be better for a certain kind of in-depth engagement with a text, involving rereading, setting goals for a study session, and so on: metacognitive learning regulation, to use the term of art. Even young children at story time seem to grasp more of a tale read to them from a paper book than one from an e-reader.
I’m just sayin’…
via The Awkward Yeti