Credit: U.S. News By: Dr. Leah Light November 7, 2018 Click here to read
Reading and The Brain
Everyone knows that reading is good for you. In fact did you know that just 6 minutes of reading is enough to reduce stress by 68%? One study even found that elderly individuals who read regularly are 2.5 times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s than their peers.
What is interesting is that now that e-book reading is becoming widely used, studies are being performed to see if reading a book is different than reading on your Kindle or IPad. A 2014 study found that readers of a short mystery story on Kindle were significantly worse at remembering the order of events than those who read the same story in paperback. The lead researcher, Anne Mangen of Norway’s Stavanger University, concluded that “the haptic and tactile feedback of a Kindle does not provide the same support for mental reconstruction of a story as a print pocket book does.
Interesting. is seems that the brain reads by constructing a mental representation of the text based on the placement of the page in the book and the word on the page. The tactile experience is very important. Mangen hypothesizes that the “very gradual unfolding of paper as you progress through a stort is some kind of sensory offload, supporting the visual sense of progress when you’re reading. The inability to flip back to previous pages or control the text physically either through making written notes or bending pages limits one’s sensory experience and reduces long-term memory of the text.”
This was disturbing to me. I love reading a physical book. But my Kindle plays an important function. Price of the book is one and it is very important. I like that I can take my Kindle on a plane or stick it in my purse and not have to carry a book or two with me. And being able to adjust the font size…that’s a real benefit. It seems that the IPad and the illusion of flipping a page does not make any difference in this tactile necessity.
I think this research just demonstrates the complexity of our brains and the non-segmentation of our activities. Everything we do affects all areas of the brain in some way and isn’t just limited to one sense, like vision.