iPad vs Book: Study Probes Effects of Screen Reading

Dennis Faas's picture

According to a new study, older people are able to read text off the iPad much faster than if they were using a "real" book. In fact, the iPad proved easier for reading than even e-readers like the Kindle.

The study was performed by a research team from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, in Germany. "E-books and e-readers are playing an increasingly important role on the worldwide book market," the researchers said in their report.

"However, readers can be particularly skeptical when it comes to e-books and electronic reading devices. The objective of the study was to investigate whether there are reasons for this skepticism."

Reading a Screen Vs Book: Negative Effects?

All in all, the study found that elderly people read text from an iPad three times faster than if they were reading a physical book. Researchers came to this conclusion by studying readers' eye movements and brain activity, as well as the way people processed the information before them. (Source: dailymail.co.uk)

The most surprising part of the study suggests that even though the participants said they preferred reading a physical book, all showed much better progress while using an Apple iPad. In fact, this was a large part of the study from the beginning -- to figure out why people prefer to have a book rather than an electronic device in their hands.

Since the researchers hypothesized that this position was associated with a belief that reading from a screen has negative effects (or negatively affects the reading experience), they believe the results prove that one can read just as easily, if not more conveniently, from a screen.

"This study provides us with a scientific basis for dispelling the widespread misconception that reading from a screen has negative effects," the researchers said.

No Difference for Young People

The study also found that the speed at which one reads a traditional or e-book can depend on their age.

While young people tended to read both electronic and physical text at about the same pace, elderly people read off their iPads three times faster than a traditional book. (Source: mirror.co.uk)

The findings can only help sales of the ubiquitous iPad, which already has a stranglehold on a still-emerging tablet market.

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