Digital Media – Study Suggests Reading on Digital Devices Can Alter How we Think

Recent findings report as to how digital media have been affecting our likelihood in making use of abstract thought. Researchers found out recently that using digital platforms for reading may alter the way we think. This makes us to be more inclined in focusing on more concrete details rather than interpreting information in a more abstract manner, as the study has found out. Therefore, tablet, laptop, and even desktop users should take note of such a development.

Digital Media - Study Suggests Reading on Digital Devices Can Alter How we Think

Researchers State That Reading Digital Media Can Change the Way How we Process Thoughts

Scientists from the Dartmouth College in the United States have tested out if processing the same information found on digital versus a non-digital media platform affect “construal levels” which are the fundamental levels of concreteness versus abstractness in which people make use of in perceiving and interpreting events, behaviors, and other informational stimuli.

To study this basic question as to whether processing the same information found on one digital media platform  or the other would let us trigger a different baseline “interpretive lens,” or a mindset, which would then influence construals of information. The scientists have tried to get a hold of as many factors as possible between the non-digital and digital platforms.

This particular study was comprised of four researches in which these have evaluated as to how we process information and how the data is affected by each platform. There are a total of more than 300 proponents, and these are within the age group of 20 to 24-years-old. The participants were asked to read a short story on either a physical printout (or a non-digital print) or a PDF found on a PC laptop. They were then asked to take a pop-quiz afterwards using a paper-and-pencil comprehension test.

For the results pertaining to the abstract question, participants, on average, that used that non-digital platform were able to score higher on deduction questions with 66-percent being correct as compared to those who used the digital platform who had 48-percent correct, as reported by the research. However, on the concrete questions, participants that were using the digital platform were able to score better as 73-percent were correct as compared to those who were using the non-digital platform who only had 58-percent correct, the scientists explained.

Geoff Kaufman from Darthmouth College had the following to say about the study on digital media: “Given that psychologists have shown that construal levels can vastly impact outcomes such as self-esteem and goal pursuit, it is crucial to recognise the role that digitisation of information might be having on this important aspect of cognition.”


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