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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Is Online Skimming Hurting Reading Comprehension?

In this May 13, 2009 file photo, Jonathan Hutcheson works on his laptop as his iPhone lays beside it at a coffee shop in Columbia, Mo. (L.G. Patterson/AP)

(L.G. Patterson/AP)

With digital devices, we are constantly consuming information, from short tweets and text messages to online articles and blog posts. We jump around, skimming and scanning.

Could this habit many of us have developed be ruining the way that our brains process information?

A recent article in the Washington Post suggests it’s creating “digital brains with new circuits for skimming through the torrent of information online.”

Maryanne Wolf, cognitive neuroscientist at Tufts University, fears that the practice is ruining our ability to for “deep reading.” Wolfe has done significant research on the topic for her book “Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain.”

Wolf joins Here & Now’s Robin Young to discuss her concerns and her research.


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Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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