Tim Challies once again linked to a great post from The New Yorker about how our brains process printed words and the big difference between e-books and regular books. I continue to be fascinated by this discussion.
One slice of the article:
Professor Ann Mangen had her students read a short story in two formats: a pocket paperback or a Kindle e-book. When Mangen tested the readers' comprehension, she found that the medium mattered a lot. When readers were asked to place a series of events from the story in chronological order - a simple plot-reconstruction task, not requiring deep analysis or critical thinking - those who had read the story in print fared significantly better, making fewer mistakes and recreating an over-all more accurate version of the story. The words looked identical, but their physical materiality mattered for basic comprehension.
MaryanneWolf's (author of a book on the history of reading called Proust and the Squid) concerns go far beyond simple comprehension. She fears that as we turn to digital formats, we may see a negative effect on the process that she calls deep reading..."Reading is a bridge to thought," she says. "And it's that process that I think is the real endangered aspect of reading."
Two previous posts on this topic are here and here.