The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: The Science of Paper versus Screens by Ferris Jabr.

This is a really interesting article about how users read text differently when it’s on screen or on paper and why.

From the article:

Even so, evidence from laboratory experiments, polls and consumer reports indicates that modern screens and e-readers fail to adequately recreate certain tactile experiences of reading on paper that many people miss and, more importantly, prevent people from navigating long texts in an intuitive and satisfying way. In turn, such navigational difficulties may subtly inhibit reading comprehension. Compared with paper, screens may also drain more of our mental resources while we are reading and make it a little harder to remember what we read when we are done. A parallel line of research focuses on people’s attitudes toward different kinds of media. Whether they realize it or not, many people approach computers and tablets with a state of mind less conducive to learning than the one they bring to paper.

I tend to think it’s related more to the people’s attitudes towards reading on electronic devices. On the web we are used to encountering many low value websites on a frequent basis, while having the opportunity to quickly and easily find something else similar.

I’m sure it depends on the type of website content they are looking at. I would expect that most people reading flyers handed to them on the street would only afford them a quick glance before deciding whether it is trash or not!