πŸ“– Print vs Digital πŸ–₯

More and more people are digesting content digitally. Here's what the science says.

How do our brains respond differently to words on a screen rather than to words on paper? 

In a distracted digital age, children's first experiences with written language are often digital texts. 

According to a recent U.S. study from Common Sense Media, children ages eight and younger spend an average of just under two and a half hours a day with screen media, 35 percent of it on mobile screens. 

They spend more time with mobile screens than with print books.

This shift has raised concerns about the potential for children's ability to read deeply and with focus. 

In recent years, researchers are putting more emphasis on understanding the impact of the digital text on children's reading development. 

πŸ“—πŸ“˜ Books πŸ“•πŸ““

Proponents of print books claim that print books engage a more complex sensory system than e-books. The feel of a book, it's smell, appearance, and the satisfaction felt when one finishes reading the book are all elements that distinguish reading a paper book from reading a digital book.

Any book lover can attest that great novels are an immersive experience that brings the mind to life with images and emotions and even engages one's senses.

To remember what you read, a book gives you the tactile experience of pages turning under your fingertips which feeds your brain with information, leading to a deeper understanding and grasp of the topic you are reading. 

What do the studies say?

Study 1

More screen than reading time is associated with decreased brain connectivity between regions controlling word recognition and both language and cognitive control related to reading comprehension.

Structurally, increased screen time relates to decreased integrity of white-matter pathways necessary for reading and language

Study 2

Increased screen time (and less reading time) is associated with poorer language development and executive functioning.

Study 3

Time spent reading is positively correlated with higher functional connectivity in left-sided language, visual and cognitive control regions of the brain.

In contrast, screen time correlates with lower connectivity in regions related to language and cognitive control.

Study 4

Students who read texts in print scored significantly better on the reading comprehension test than students who read the texts digitally.

References

Bavishi, A., Slade, M., & Levy, B. . (2017). The Survival Advantage of Reading Books. Innovation in Aging, 1(Suppl 1), 477. .
Berns, G. S., Blaine, K., Prietula, M. J., & Pye, B. E. . (2013). Short and long-term effects of a novel on connectivity in the brain. Brain connectivity, 3(6), 590–600..
Dodell-Feder, D. & Tamir, D.. (2016). Fiction Reading Has a Small Positive Impact on Social Cognition: A Meta-Analysis. Journal of Experimental Psychology.
Duff, D., Tomblin, J. B., & Catts, H. . (2015). The Influence of Reading on Vocabulary Growth: A Case for a Matthew Effect. Journal of speech, language, and hearing research : JSLHR, 58(3), 853–864. .
Keller, T. A., & Just, M. A. . (2009). Altering cortical connectivity: remediation-induced changes in the white matter of poor readers. Neuron, 64(5), 624–631. .
Lewis, D. . (2009). Galaxy Stress Research. Mindlab International, Sussex University, UK.
Mangen A., Bente R., BrΓΈnnick K.. (2013). Reading linear texts on paper versus computer screen: Effects on reading comprehension. International Journal of Educational Research Volume 58, 2013, Pages 61-68.
Small, G. W., Lee, J., Kaufman, A., Jalil, J., Siddarth, P., Gaddipati, H., Moody, T. D., & Bookheimer, S. Y. . (2020). Brain health consequences of digital technology use
. Dialogues in clinical neuroscience, 22(2), 179–187. .
Tamir, D. I., Bricker, A. B., Dodell-Feder, D., & Mitchell, J. P. . (2016). Reading fiction and reading minds: the role of simulation in the default network. Social cognitive and affective neuroscience, 11(2), 215–224. .

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