Want to make creations as awesome as this one?


Miguel Cota Pinto, Psychology of Reading
Research on possible differences in reading capabilities or qualities between physical and virtual mediums.

Physical vs Virtual Reading



Reading comparison variables

Researching realted articles



The why

This research topic came to mind because of personal preferences and altogether reluctance in reading materials. Reading on my mobile phone, computer, tablet, etc... Always felt wrong to me and I could identify some negative aspects with it. This fact made me choose physical reading materials and consider them as superior. And as the course "Psychology of Reading" came to me by chance, so did my interest in digging up the reasons why I choose reading and studying on paper instead of screens. And more precisely: if there is a real difference in cognitive processing or reading performance.


Researching related Articles


Virginia Clinton, Journal of Research in Reading

This research paper aimed to meta-analyse several studies in order to understand how, from 2008 to 2018, the scientific comunity progressed on the topic of identifying practical differences in reading from paper compared to screens.For this, the search only took into consideration studies that were randomlly assigned and that guaranteed fundamental reading skills from their subjects. Also, the main variables used for comparison were reading performance, reading times and calibration of performance (metacognition).

Reading from paper compared to screens: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Reading comparison variables


Free recalls

Open-ended questions

Multiple-choice questions

On reading comprehension assessments

Performance on reading comprehension assessments is considered to measure how well a text was understood (Clinton, 2019). This is often referred to as the products of reading that are based on the mental representation of the text after it is read (Rapp & van den Broek, 2005). For reading comprehension assessments take a variety of forms such as:


How the text is read, in other words, the process of reading

Reading time is commonly used as a tool to measure the effort and processing required. As reading time increases in texts that are inconsistent with what is commonly read, it indicates increased effort and processing.Metacognitive processes, involve how effectively readers assess their understanding of a text or the precision of their predictions about their performance on text-related assessments. Proficient metacognitive processes, where readers are conscious of their comprehension levels, are linked to enhanced reading performance. A crucial metacognitive indicator involves evaluating the correlation between a reader's confidence or performance predictions and the actual outcomes (frequently, readers exhibit inaccurate calibration, tending to be overly confident in their performance).

Reading time and metacognitive accuracy

There were no reliable differences in reading times by medium

Reading times

Readers report that it is more difficult to focus when reading from screens compared to paper and that reading from a screen can be distracting

Mind wandering

Metacognitive awareness of performance is better when reading text from paper compared to screens

Metacognitive accuracy

Contextual cue are provided by the medium, which prime the reader to read for leisure from screens or study from paper

Contextual cue


Dynamic text comprehension. Current Directions in Psychological Science

Rapp, D. & van den Broek, P. (2005). Dynamic text comprehension. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 14(5), 276–279 https://doi.org/10.1111/j.0963-7214.2005.00380.x.

Reading from paper compared to screens: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Clinton, V. (2019) Reading from paper compared to screens: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Research in Reading, 42: 288–325. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9817.12269.