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Study: No negative impact from e-readers

Oct. 20, 2011 at 10:10 PM   |   Comments

MAINZ, Germany, Oct. 20 (UPI) -- A comparison of reading texts on paper with reading from an e-book found no disadvantages associated with the electronic version, European researchers say.

"This study provides us with a scientific basis for dispelling the widespread misconception that reading from a screen has negative effects," Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz researcher Stephan Fussel said. "There is no (reading) culture clash -- whether it is analog or digital, reading remains the most important cultural technology."

The study found no difference in terms of reading performance between reading from paper and from an e-ink reader -- even though many participants expressed a subjective preference for printed text, the researchers said.

"We have thus demonstrated that the subjective preference for the printed book is not an indicator of how fast and how well the information is processed," researcher Matthias Schlesewsky said.

The study analyzed the differences in reading from various kinds of media -- including e-book, tablet PC or paper -- in two sample groups, young and elderly adults.

While there were no differences among the three media in terms of rates of reading by the younger participants, older participants exhibited faster reading times when using the tablet PC, the researchers said.

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