New Textual Formats: Reading online is re-wiring the human brain and changing how we process information

Lara Killian



The experience of reading online is different from reading the hard copy of a printed item. This is relevant to librarians and those in the information studies field who need to be aware that the way young people and future generations read and interact with text differs from that of previous generations, especially among individuals who have been immersed in electronic media from a young age. Emerging research shows that the brain of an individual who has been surrounded by digital media from a young age develops differently than the brain of an individual who does not have an extensive history of online participation. Patterns are also beginning to emerge regarding changing brain structure in "late adopters" of online reading -- those of pre-Net Generation age who are now immersing themselves in electronic text. Librarians, teachers, and others involved in managing access to digital text and promoting literacy should be aware of these trends in order to address them effectively in their work.


Information in Society, Reading

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