E-Readers vs. Paper: An Investigation of Cognitive Differences in a College Sample Reading from Popular E-readers and Paper

Thomas Gable, The College of Wooster


Electronic readers are considered to be one of the future trends in education; however, little research has investigated their possible cognitive differences from printed-paper. The current study measured participants' reading speeds and memory for a short story when reading from paper text, iPad or Kindle. These measurements as well as effective reading rates and cognitive load were compared between text forms. Paper text resulted in significantly faster reading speeds while short-term memory performance was significantly better for e-readers. No long-term memory or effective reading rate differences occurred and participants who from read e-readers exhibited no cognitive disadvantage in the task.