EEG correlates of effective assimilation of information in conditions of reading it from different carriers

V. V. Andrusiak, V. I. Kravchenko


Introduction. In modern information environment there is a constant transition from reading texts from the books to reading them from the screens, which is caused by the increasing number of digital reading devices (computers, laptops, e-books, tablet devices, smartphones). Today, people prefer more electronic textbook to a paper version of the same book. However, there are some discussions about what is better. Is there some difference between a text read from electronic device and a print edition? Does it affect students' understanding of a text?

Purpose. The main aim was to compare the effectiveness of information retain received from a paper book and an e-book and find out whether there are differences in the work of the brain during reading from these sourses.

Methods. Forty three students took part in this research. Two passages of text were chosen from literary and science books, and were presented in PDF-file and in printed copy which the participants had to read. During the reading an electroencephalograph was recording the electrical activity of the brain. EEG spectral power were calculated in ranges: delta (0.5-3 Hz), theta (4-7 Hz), alpha (8-12 Hz) and beta (13-30 Hz), 16 symmetric leads. Immediately after the reading and in two weeks after the participants passed a test on the text content, indicating the level of the text recollection. Statistical analysis of indicators of spectral power (SP) was performed in each EEG range, inter-group and intra-group comparisons, correlation analysis between indicators EEG results and assimilation of information.

Results. Comparative analysis of the EEG revealed no significant differences between the SP of studied ranges during reading paper books and e-books either for scientific or for literary text. There were no differences in the retaining of the text immediately after reading (literary text paper version 6 [4, 7], electronic version 7 [5, 7], scientific text paper version 6 [4, 7], electronic version 6 [4, 7 ]). Differences in long-term assimilation of information (in 2 weeks)were also not established: (literary text paper version 4 [3, 5], the electronic version 5 [4, 6]; scientific text paper version 5 [4, 6] electronic version 6 [5, 7]).

Originality. For the first time a comparative analysis of the electrical activity of the brain while reading text from paper and electronic sourses was conducted. For the first time revealed the EEG correlates of effective learning of the text in conditions of reading it from different carriers.

Conclusion. EEG correlates of better text learning depending on the paper or e-book type were discovered. In the participants, which gave more correct answers in 2 weeks after reading the text (scientific text in paper version), during the reading a higher SP was registered in theta range in most areas of the right hemisphere and the left temporo-parietal (0,42 <r <0.72). Instead, better remembering of the text in the electronic version was correlated with lower SP beta in the range EEG during reading (-0,78 <r <-0,46). Better recollection of fiction text correlated with lower SP alpha and beta-1 ranges only for the paper version (-0,42 <r <-0,58).


reading; paper books; E-books; EEG; learning; memory; brain


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