Old fashioned books have picked up a lot of haters in recent years. Environmentalists have decried them as “dead tree” mediums, while average readers often complain they can be weighty, cumbersome and don’t travel well.
While reading is on the rise, quality of reading is on the decline. Reading your Facebook timeline isnt the same as reading Tolstoy. Its a shame because reading a good book is not only fun its nothing short of lifechanging
Science, however, offers another view. According to numerous studies and expert opinion, reading physical books can improve memory, concentration and may even make you physically more attractive.
According to at least one study, conducted by researchers at Stavanger University in Norway, people who read actual books are significantly better at remembering what they read as opposed to people who read books on a Kindle and other e-readers.
Reading can help you sleep better
Reading a book is one of the most effective ways to calm your mind and help you sleep. The bright lights of electronics have been found to signal to the brain that its time to wake up. Reading a book under a dim light has the opposite effect – putting your brain to rest.
Reading reduces stress
Do you take a walk or listen to music to chill out? The University of Sussex thinks that you should consider reading instead. Reading was the most effective way that participants were able to defeat stress, doing so in only six minutes.
Reading a novel increases brain function for days
Research from Emory University has found that reading a book can increase connectivity in the brain and neurological changes that act like muscle memory, which stick around for days. Books not only put you in someone elses shoes in a figurative sense, but also in a biological sense.
Better Mental Reconstruction
“The haptic and tactile feedback of a Kindle does not provide the same support for mental reconstruction of a story as a print pocket book does,” lead researcher Anne Mangen concluded.
Good Visual Sense
Part of the reason also has to do with the unique interaction required in reading a real book. Mangen further speculated that “the fixity of a text on paper, and this very gradual unfolding of paper as you progress through a story is some kind of sensory offload, supporting the visual sense of progress when you’re reading.”
Reading Kindle forces your brain
Additional studies indicate the not being able to flip back and forth between pages or easily make notes further erodes the ability to commit the information to the brain’s long-term memory.
Kindle reduces your concentration power
Others have argued e-reading has reduced our ability to understand and concentrate on the text in front of us.
“If you ask students, where do you best concentrate, in which kind of medium… depending on the country, between 92 and 94% of students said, ‘I concentrate best when I read print,”.
Readers have clearer life goals.
As well as helping you meet the love of your life, reading about someone who has overcome obstacles in life can encourage you to follow suit. Ohio State University found that the more you identify with a character, the more likely youll be able to also take action in life.
Reading makes you look sexy and young
Reading is sexy and makes you a more empathetic person. As anyone who has seen the famous Hot Dudes Reading Instagram account will know, there are few things as sexy as reading an old fashioned book. A casual scroll through its entries reveals not a Kindle in sight.
You are a more empathetic person when you read books
Other studies meanwhile have shown people who read physical books were more empathetic,
You are moved by the story read on books
Comparatively, those who read an unpleasant story on an iPad were less moved than those who read it on an old fashioned paper book. You can relate it to plenty of movies being made from the stories of a real book. But the vice versa does not merely happen.
Reading makes you a better writer
If you read, then you’re inadvertently a thief, but its not your fault. The University of California discovered that when you read an amazing book, the writing skills of the author inadvertently rub off onto you. Just as listening to music can affect a musicians style, reading a book can affect your writing style.
Readers are more open-minded.
A study published in the Creativity Research Journal concluded that participants who had just read a short story had less need for cognitive closure and were more comfortable with ambiguity and alternate interpretations. In short, readers see that its okay to be uncertain.
So don’t burn the books just yet. The good news is that despite the alluring convenience and cost of electronic reading devices, books have held their ground.