One of the selling points of a dedicated electronic reader is the belief that E Ink is better for a reader’s eyes than the LCD screens used in tablet computers. Now, researchers from the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany, have released a study suggesting it might actually be easier to read on the LCD screen, and that retention of reading material is the same no matter how the reading is done.
A group of 57 Generation-Xers and senior citizens were tested using an electroencephalogram (EEG) machine to measure brain activity while the reading. The tests showed that while Gen-X readers used slightly less energy to read on a tablet than an e-reader or paper book, the senior citizens clearly spent less energy and time reading on the tablet.
Both test groups also showed a slightly higher error rate in answering questions after using either an e-reader or tablet device, although the researchers considered the rate small enough to be insignificant.
“Here we have a study that suggests digital textbooks are not better for students,” wrote Note Hoffelder in his blog post on The Digital Reader. “It’s a pity that this probably won’t slow down the mad dash towards the next hot trend.”