December 04, 2019
Jennifer Stiegler-Balfour, Ph.D., associate professor and psychology program coordinator in the Department of Psychology, and alum Ellie Leighton, B.A. '18 (Psychology) recently presented research findings at the New England Psychological Association (NEPA) conference, an annual meeting of psychology professionals dedicated to the advancement of psychology as a science, a profession, and a means of promoting human welfare.
Stiegler-Balfour’s presentation, titled “An Investigation into the Effects of Structure Building Ability on Comprehension on E-readers for Expository and Narrative Text,” investigated why consumers continue to display a preference for print textbooks despite the many benefits of e-textbooks. The study also examined whether reading comprehension ability played a role when choosing between a print versus digital textbook.
Stiegler-Balfour examined differences in reading speed and a cued-recognition task for individuals reading either narrative or expository text on an e-reader. The results showed that better structure builders were more likely to adapt their reading speed to maintain equal comprehension levels across text types, whereas lower ability structure builders failed to adapt their reading pace, and, thus, their comprehension suffered when reading expository text on an e-reader.
Overall, the results suggest that reading on digital mediums is comparable to reading traditional print textbooks; however, the results also indicate that reading e-textbooks is less efficient than reading print textbooks, as it takes longer to read.