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Study Reveals Users of E-Readers Remember Less Than Those Who Read Printed Books

August 20, 2014
August 20, 2014—A new study, presented at a conference in Italy, revealed some interesting findings when comparing e-reader users to readers of printed books. The level of absorption was a key finding, where users of e-readers were significantly worse than paperback readers at remembering when events occurred in a story, The Guardian reported.

Fifty readers participated in the study and were tasked with reading the same 28-page short story by Elizabeth George—half read the story on a Kindle, and half in a paperback. The readers were then tested on the objects, characters and settings from the story.

Anne Mangen of Norway's Stavanger University, was a lead researcher on the study, and chairs a European research network that studies the effects of digital text on reading.

"The Kindle readers performed significantly worse on the plot reconstruction measure, i.e., when they were asked to place 14 events in the correct order," Mangen told The Guardian.

Mangen added that it is important to provide publishers with these statistics so that they will know which devices should be used for what kind of content.

According to The Guardian, the research concluded that the "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."


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