This is TLDR.
The best and most important blog we discovered this week places octopuses on the heads of United States vice-presidents. All of them.
@JamieDMJ sorta won the internet this week.
WNYC Radio wants YOU!
bill is my homeboy. Austin, TX.
Your paper brain and your Kindle brain aren’t the same thing
Photo: A commuter reads on a Kindle e-reader while riding the subway in Cambridge, Mass. Neuroscience says the way his brain treats reading on the Kindle is different than the way the brain processes the newspaper next to him.
Would you like paper or plasma? That’s the question book lovers face now that e-reading has gone mainstream. And, as it turns out, our brains process digital reading very differently.
Manoush Zomorodi, managing editor and host of WNYC’s New Tech City, recalls a conversation with the Washington Post’s Mike Rosenwald, who’s researched the effects of reading on a screen. “He found, like I did, that when he sat down to read a book his brain was jumping around on the page. He was skimming and he couldn’t just settle down. He was treating a book like he was treating his Twitter feed,” she says.
Neuroscience, in fact, has revealed that humans use different parts of the brain when reading from a piece of paper or from a screen. So the more you read on screens, the more your mind shifts towards “non-linear” reading — a practice that involves things like skimming a screen or having your eyes dart around a web page.
“They call it a ‘bi-literate’ brain,” Zoromodi says. “The problem is that many of us have adapted to reading online just too well. And if you don’t use the deep reading part of your brain, you lose the deep reading part of your brain.”
So what’s deep reading? It’s the concentrated kind we do when we want to “immerse ourselves in a novel or read a mortgage document,” Zoromodi says. And that uses the kind of long-established linear reading you don’t typically do on a computer. “Dense text that we really want to understand requires deep reading, and on the internet we don’t do that.”
Linear reading and digital distractions have caught the attention of academics like Maryanne Wolf, director of the Center for Reading and Language Research at Tufts University.
“I don’t worry that we’ll become dumb because of the Internet,” Wolf says, “but I worry we will not use our most preciously acquired deep reading processes because we’re just given too much stimulation. That’s, I think, the nub of the problem.”
To keep the deep reading part of the brain alive and kicking, Zomorodi says that researchers like Wolf recommend setting aside some time each day to deep read on paper.
And now that children are seemingly growing up with a digital screen in each hand, Wolf says it’s also important that teachers and parents make sure kids are taking some time away from scattered reading. Adults need to ensure that children also practice the deeper, slow reading that we associate with books on paper.
“I think the evidence someday will be able to show us that what we’re after is a discerning ‘bi-literate’ brain,” Wolf says. “That’s going to take some wisdom on our part.”
Look at these smart people. Adam Sternbergh of New York, Emily Nussbaum of The New Yorker, and Adam Moss of the New York Times were on the Brian Lehrer Show today to discuss Adam’s piece on “The Death of Adulthood in American Culture.” Check it out.
-Jody, BL Show-
Next Thursday, September 25 one of our favorite events, Ask Roulette, will welcome these special guests which means you might get a chance to ask them ANY QUESTION YOU WANT!
- David Rees of National Geographic’s “Going Deep” (one of our favorite new shows, it’s free on Hulu; here he is charmingly making ice); artisanal pencil sharpener; and man behind “Get Your War On.” (@david_rees)
- Comedian Maeve Higgins, host of “I’m New Here” at Union Hall (with Ask alum Jon Ronson) and lots more. (@maevehiggins)
- and special house band Dave Hill! Dave’s, the host of WFMU’s “That Goddam Dave Hill Show,” a two-time Ask guest, but this time around he’s stepping in as our special house band. Expect someshredding. This should be interesting. (@mrdavehill)
This is really such a great event, whether you want to ask a question on stage or just watch the mix of serious, silly, deep and insane questions and answers unfold. Get your tickets now, only $8!
Al Pacino, Robin Wright, Michael Keaton, Julianne Moore, Ryan Phillippe, and Juliette Binoche will all play themselves in movies this fall. How did this happen?
There are GIFs and then there is the snow globe jaw-dropping work of Rafael Varona. Thank science!
The hills are alive with available Sundays.
It’s the opening night of the New York Philharmonic and you probably don’t have tickets to their gala, right? Don’t worry! You can listen live on our sister station WQXR!
Tonight at 7:30, WQXR brings you a live broadcast of the New York Philharmonic’s opening night gala concert: “La Dolce Vita: The Music of Italian Cinema” with violinist Joshua Bell, soprano Renée Fleming and singer Josh Groban.