Digital reading bad for concentration, patience: Research

OSLO (July 20):  Recent research in Norway showed that reading from mobile and computer screens has a negative impact on one’s concentration and patience, Xinhua news agency reported quoted public broadcaster NRK on Friday.

Marte Blikstad-Balas, professor at the University of Oslo, has worked on the Linking Instruction and Student Achievement (LISA) study and examined the connection between teaching and student achievement in mathematics among Norwegian 8-graders.

“The teachers must be aware that it may be more difficult for students to read longer texts, compared to 20 years ago,” Blikstad-Balas told NRK.

Blikstad-Balas explained further that the brain has become accustomed to reading texts on screens, where many distractions can interrupt the reading.

Pictures are one example, she said. “We interpret the letters as before, but the situation we read in is different. We read shorter texts and become impatient.”

According to Blikstad-Balas, reading from screens can also affect our memory.

“It is called the ‘Google effect’. We know it is easy to search for information online, so we do not have to remember everything we read,” she said.

Anne Mangen, a researcher from the University of Stavanger, also said that it is easier to remember events from a physical book.

“It will be easier to understand the text because you have the book physically in hand, and you can place events on different pages. You can’t do that if you read from a screen,” Mangen told NRK.

The report cited statistics from the Norwegian Publishers Association that Norwegians buy fewer analogue, physical books and instead opt for electronic and audiobooks.

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