A topic that continues to surface in current theories of perception is the neuroscience of haptics—the science of how touch and tactile information is sent to our brains. As a designer, I’m especially intrigued with how this science impacts comprehension and what it means to us—as humans—to read ink-on-paper, versus absorbing content digitally. How does reading on a computer screen, laptop or mobile device differ from consuming print on paper? And, ultimately, how does the difference influence how we learn and what we learn, or even what we unconsciously choose to digest.
Over this past year, as I’ve incorporated information from different neuroscientific research into my presentations and this blog, I’ve begun to realize that I’m not only a ‘print evangelist’ but a champion of reading. You can learn more about the results of this research in our last promotion, Print &. That promotion led me to do even more digging. Recently I ran across some distressing data that addresses how the United States fares in comparison to other countries around the world in math, science and reading. The study I refer to is the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) released by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) whose goal is to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world. Overall, the study shows that teenagers in the United States have slipped in math, science and reading against the performances of teenagers in other countries. In fact, the United States falls below the midpoint in all areas. For a country that considers itself a leader in so many areas, our children are performing far below where we think we stand. Read more: http://www.oecd.org/newsroom/Asian-countries-top-OECD-s-latest-PISA-survey-on-state-of-global-education.htm. Obviously, this research points out the importance of reading—as well as the need for parents and adults to read to children to promote good reading habits. And as it turns out, based on the findings of neuroscientists, we actually absorb more and understand information better from reading on paper! That said, reading—in-and-of-itself—is significant and important. To remain competitive, we must make reading a priority in our country in order to prepare for the future. There are many extraordinary organizations and associations focused on making reading a priority, delivering books into the hands of those who may not have access, and confirming to both young and old the importance of reading skills. One of my favorites is referenced in the title of this post http://readingisfundamental.org. We have no problem finding the time for entertainment, socializing, gaming, surfing the internet and even exercising. So, let’s find time in our schedules to include reading, let’s exercise our cognitive skills. No matter your interests reading has a place in all of our lives. So this year pick up a book, a magazine, even your tablet and spend an hour reading! Does that make sense?
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