Memory Works Better Reading Real Books

Paper Over Pixels




Researchers from Norway’s Stavanger University and France’s Aix-Marseille Université found that readers remember a story better if it’s on paper. The study tested 50 people that read the same 28-page short story. Half of the group read the paper version and the other half read the story on a Kindle e-reader. The researchers discovered that readers of the digital version could not remember details from the story or reconstruct the plot as well as the group that read the paper copy.

The researchers found that the feedback of a Kindle doesn’t provide the same support for mental reconstruction of a story as a print pocket book does. “When you read on paper, you can sense with your fingers a pile of pages on the left growing, and shrinking on the right,” explains Stavanger University’s Anne Mangen, Ph.D.

These findings confirm a study performed a year earlier, also led by Mangen. Seventy-two 10th-graders were given text to read either on paper or on a computer screen. The students that read the paper text versions scored significantly higher in reading comprehension testing than those reading digital versions.

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