NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Reading Comprehension: Cellulose Over Silicon

September 7, 2000

Ohio State University researchers found that college students who read essays on a computer screen found the text harder to understand, less interesting and less persuasive than students who read the same essay on paper.

  • The study asked 131 undergraduates to read two magazine articles, either on a computer or on paper.
  • The students who read the computerized text had more difficulty, regardless of how much computer experience they reported.

"We think readers develop strategies about how to remember and comprehend printed texts, but these students were unable to transfer those strategies to computerized text," says Karen Murphy, assistant professor of educational psychology.

Source: Staff & Wire reports, "Reading A Screen Reduces Comprehension," Health, Education & Science, USA Today, September 6, 2000.


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