Want to Remember What You Read? Switch to Paper

[responsive]animatedreading[/responsive]Do you find it hard to recall what you’ve read online or on digital readers? You’re not alone.

“Going all digital might be good for trees, but it’s bad for memory, suggests new research, which found that Kindle readers are significantly worse at rehashing what they’ve read compared to hard copy readers,” writes Laura Montini in Inc.

According to Montini, a researcher at Norway’s Stavanger University tested readers on their recall ability of a short story.

“Half of the participants read the story on a Kindle and half read a paperback version,” writes Montini.

“When asked to remember details about the characters and setting, the two groups performed mostly the same, The Guardian reported. However, when the participants were asked to reconstruct the plot, Kindle readers were notably worse at placing the main 14 story events in the right order.”

Why would this be? According to the researcher, “this very gradual unfolding of paper as you progress through a story is some kind of sensory offload, supporting the visual sense of progress when you’re reading,” she said. “Perhaps this somehow aids the reader, providing more fixity and solidity to the reader’s sense of unfolding and progress of the text, and hence the story.”

We’ve already seen research that demonstrates significant drops in reading comprehension on digital devices. We suspect this is why students prefer printed books over e-texts. And a Princeton study found that students who took notes on a keyboard had worse recall of information than those who took notes in longhand.

The implications for students are obvious, but just as critical for marketers looking to sell their products, or anyone looking to engage on a deeper level.