See Inside Scientific American Volume 309, Issue 5

The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: Why Paper Still Beats Screens

E-readers and tablets are becoming more popular as such technologies improve, but reading on paper still has its advantages

More In This Article

One of the most provocative viral YouTube videos in the past two years begins mundanely enough: a one-year-old girl plays with an iPad, sweeping her fingers across its touch screen and shuffling groups of icons. In following scenes, she appears to pinch, swipe and prod the pages of paper magazines as though they, too, are screens. Melodramatically, the video replays these gestures in close-up.

For the girl's father, the video—A Magazine Is an iPad That Does Not Work—is evidence of a generational transition. In an accompanying description, he writes, “Magazines are now useless and impossible to understand, for digital natives”—that is, for people who have been interacting with digital technologies from a very early age, surrounded not only by paper books and magazines but also by smartphones, Kindles and iPads.


"The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: Why Paper Still Beats Screens" is available in the following issues, please make a selection below

Scientific American Volume 309, Issue 5
Scientific American Volume 309, Issue 5 - $5.99

This is only a preview. Get the rest of this article now!

Select an option below:

Customer Sign In

*You must have purchased this issue or have a qualifying subscription to access this content

It has been identified that the institution you are trying to access this article from has institutional site license access to Scientific American on
Click here to access this article in its entirety through site license access.

Rights & Permissions
Share this Article:


You must sign in or register as a member to submit a comment.
Scientific American Holiday Sale

Scientific American Mind Digital

Get 6 bi-monthly digital issues
+ 1yr of archive access for just $9.99

Hurry this offer ends soon! >


Email this Article


Next Article