Posts Tagged ‘Biliterate’

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Whether you love the authentic feel and smell of a paperback, or if you like the convenience and and storage of using an electronic library, like a Kindle, you need to know the differences between the two.

and  it’s in your head…

That’s right! Your brain reacts very differently when you read words on paper instead of reading words on a screen. You’ve actually trained your brain to think  based on what device you’re reading on. When you read a book your eyes move down the page in a chronological order – left to right & top to bottom. However, when you read on a screen your eye constantly darts over the page looking for the most ‘important’ piece of information, processing it before it continues scanning – this happens because of the way web pages are laid out, you tend to scout around the ads and instead look for titles and hyperlinks.

This phenomenon is called the bi-literate brain – it means that you use different parts of your brain that do different things. Linear processing occurs on paper and nonlinear processing happens with screens.

But what does all this mean?

Well, as you may have experienced in your own life, there has been a massive shift away from paper to computers – think about how many hours you spend on your laptop, tablet and phone versus the time you spend with a book in your hand. The brain is like many of your muscles and the old saying applies: “use it or lose it”. By neglecting books you are losing the ability to process complex linear text, which makes it much harder for you to understand similarly complex ideas.

You see, linear processing works like building a Jenga tower. If we read something we don’t quite understand, then the foundation for everything else we read will be less stable because we haven’t fully understood the connections between these ideas that are presented in dense chronological order. Have you ever been reading a book and realised you’ve read two paragraphs and are unable to recount what has just happened? If you miss some of the founding blocks, by the time you reach the end the whole tower will come crashing down.


That’s right, you can regain your deep reading skills by putting a side time each day to read a book. A PAPER book. and just like that, you’ll pick it right up again. The digital age is dominating our lives, screens everywhere demand our attention with beeps and flashing and fancy scrolling options. But books feel different, they carry memories in the way they smell. And reading a book everyday is going to make you a much better thinker.

Thank you to Oscar Ferrer, from Flickr for this image.

Further Reading.