Left to our own device

If we leave reading to our own devices, we may gain in quantity but lose in quality. Studies have shown that reading on paper is deeper and more focused than reading on any device. Continuous scrolling defocuses the cognition of reading, leading to a more superficial engagement with the text. It gives the illusion of quantity while sidelining the importance of quality loss.

Reading on a screen is faster, more comprehensive and encourages side-reading, especially when hypertexts are brought into play.

In many ways, reading is like photography.

To be a good photographer, you need wide as well as macro lenses, fish-eyes as well as long focal lengths. Reading is similar, to get the most out of the texts available, one needs both paper and screen – quick access as well as deep focus.

To leave reading to our devices, we deprive ourselves of an important cognitive asset: focus. Imagine taking photos solely with wide lenses – important details get lost. We need the full picture, full breadth and full depth. We shouldn’t sacrifice one for the other.

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