A recent study conducted in the universities of Marburg, Mainz and Gottingen discovered that reading on electronic devices like e-book readers and tablets requires more intense brain activity compared to traditional paper reading. In addition, scientists concluded that the reading speed with electronic devices is slower than that with books.
However, more interesting is the finding that there is one exception of this rule – elderly people. According to researchers, tablets can be very beneficial for older folks. The scientists who conducted the study say that the elderly find reading easier on electronic devices. They also explain that this is due to the screens of the smart gadgets. Unlike paper books, the displays of tablet computers have a higher visual contrast.
Over 50 people of various ages participated in the study. All of them stated that they find traditional reading to be more pleasant than the digital one. This is also confirmed by the additional analyses which show that reading on electronic devices requires more time, as well as brain activity. However, the situation was completely opposite with participants who were aged 66 to 77 years. They were recorded to read faster and use less brain power than paper reading.
Similar was the case with e-book readers like Kindle that use the e-ink technology. But they were less beneficial to the elderly than tablets because of their screens which are designed to resemble ordinary ink-printed paper surfaces. Like with books, older people find it harder to read on e-ink readers compared to tablet devices.
The younger participants in the study, on the other hand, reported little differences between reading experience on the three media. In addition, analysis on people between 21 to 34, who took part in the research, were not reported to show any difference between the brain function and reading speed with the three reading sources.
It seems that tablets and e-book readers are more suitable for older people than the good old book. But will the elderly be willing to abandon their well-known information sources for new-gen innovations? Only time will show.