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Mangen, A. & Kuiken, D. (2014) Lost in an iPad: Narrative engagement on paper and tablet


Abstract and Figures

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of reading medium and a paratext manipulation on aspects of narrative engagement. In a 2 (medium: booklet vs. iPad) by 2 (paratext: fiction vs. nonfiction) between-subjects factorial design, the study combined state oriented measures of narrative engagement and a newly developed measure of interface interference. Results indicated that, independently of prior experience with reading on electronic media, readers in the iPad condition reported dislocation within the text and awkwardness in handling their medium. Also, iPad readers who believed they were reading nonfiction were less likely to report narrative coherence and transportation, while booklet readers who believed they were reading nonfiction were, if anything, more likely to report narrative coherence. Finally, booklet (but not iPad) readers were more likely to report a close association between transportation and empathy. Implications of these findings for cognitive and emotional engagement with textual narratives on paper and tablet are discussed.
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Scientic Study of Literature : (), –.  ./ssol...man
 – / - – © John Benjamins Publishing Company
Lost in an iPad
Narrative engagement on paper and tablet
Anne Mangen1,2 and Don Kuiken3
1Department of Archivistics, Library and Information Studies, Oslo &
Akershus University College, Norway / 2e Reading Centre, University
of Stavanger, Norway / 3Department of Psychology, University of Alberta,
e purpose of this study was to examine the eects of reading medium and
a paratext manipulation on aspects of narrative engagement. In a 2 (medium:
booklet vs. iPad) by 2 (paratext: ction vs. nonction) between-subjects factorial
design, the study combined state oriented measures of narrative engagement
and a newly developed measure of interface interference. Results indicated that,
independently of prior experience with reading on electronic media, readers
in the iPad condition reported dislocation within the text and awkwardness in
handling their medium. Also, iPad readers who believed they were reading non-
ction were less likely to report narrative coherence and transportation, while
booklet readers who believed they were reading nonction were, if anything,
more likely to report narrative coherence. Finally, booklet (but not iPad) readers
were more likely to report a close association between transportation and empa-
thy. Implications of these ndings for cognitive and emotional engagement with
textual narratives on paper and tablet are discussed.
Keywords: emotion, new media, media eects, narrative, reading, paratext
Regardless of what we read (news, expository texts, or literature), how we read is
shaped by the technologies with which we read (Mangen, 2008; Manguel, 1996).
As we increasingly engage narratives and news stories on tablets (e.g., iPad) and e-
readers (e.g., Kindle), psychological and psychobiological aspects of the transition
from paper- to screen-based reading merit closer theoretical and empirical scruti-
ny. Although both audiovisual and ergonomic aordances of the digital “page(on
screen) dier from those of the paper page (in books), research on textual read-
ing has proceeded as though the physical medium and its visual and ergonomic
features are transparent (cf. Kamil, Pearson, Moje, & Aerbach, 2011). Because
Lost in an iPad 
the print book medium has been dominant for so long, perhaps we have become
oblivious to the aordances specic to its interface (e.g., page turning, browsing,
bookmarking). Comparison with new media, then, may not only disclose what is
distinctive about texts presented on screen but also unveil the aordances of the
traditional print medium.
Texts imprinted on paper present a set of sensorimotor contingencies
(O’Regan, & Noë, 2001) that dier from those of texts displayed on a computer,
tablet, or e-reader screen. Print texts are xed and tangible; they are physically
contiguous with the medium. In contrast, screen-based texts are intangible and
virtual; they are physically separable from their medium. is structure enables
digital devices to store and display a number of texts (documents; books), allow-
ing exceptional portability and access. However, that very exibility may alter the
reader’s relation to the text, potentially inuencing the reader’s experience of text
content. We have barely begun to explore to what extent and under what condi-
tions these subtle dierences between print and digital texts inuence the reading
process. Moreover, those inuences may be particularly important when readers
engage narrative text, perhaps especially literary narrative. A primary incentive
for reading a literary narrative is to become immersed in the story world that is
conveyed by black marks on a white page. One condition for such immersion is
the diminished sensory salience of the modality of written text (as opposed, for ex-
ample, to audiovisual modalities). Compared with paintings, lms, and music, the
directly perceptible attributes of verbal art (e.g., literary narrative) are, as Scarry
(2001) notes, few in number. Most importantly, “these [perceptible] attributes are
utterly irrelevant, sometimes even antagonistic, to the mental images that a poem
or novel seeks to produce […]” (p. 5).
Equally important for engagement in a narrative is the unobtrusiveness of the
display or substrate on which the written text appears. Readers do not want to be
interrupted by being forced to pay attention to the paper, binding, or spine on
which they engage narrative stories; they want to become “lost” in a book (Nell,
1988). Analogously, interface features of digital devices should recede into the
background during reading, enabling engagement with the narrative story world.
is requires, for instance, that readers ignore the ergonomics of page turning
and text navigation. e failure of dedicated, electronic literature (e.g., hypertext
novels) to reach a wide audience is plausibly related to the fact that the reader
has to engage actively in navigational decisions during reading and interact —
cognitively and physically with the work. is constant interaction, Holland
(2009) argues, makes immersion in the “world” of the hypertext story or poem
impossible: “e [real] world cannot evaporate, nor can we feel transported into
the world of the story. Instead, we are busy at the computer.” (p. 41). Given such ap-
prehensions, it is important to determine empirically whether readers’ engagement
 Anne Mangen and Don Kuiken
with a literary narrative is aected by whether they read it in print or on a tablet.
e experiment reported here was designed to do so.
eoretical background
“Sense of the text” on paper and screen
Empirical research has examined cognitive aspects of text reading on paper and
screens, and the available results are mixed. Some recent studies report little or no
dierence in comprehension between paper and screen reading (Margolin et al.,
2013; Kretszchmar et al., 2013), whereas other studies suggest that reading lengthy
linear texts on screen may impede the high-level processes underlying compre-
hension, metacognition, and recall (Ackerman & Goldsmith, 2011; Jeong, 2012;
Kim & Kim, 2013; Mangen, Walgermo, & Brønnick, 2013; Wästlund, Reinikka,
Norlander, & Archer, 2005).
Of particular relevance to the present study is research demonstrating the ad-
verse eects of the spatio-temporal intangibility of digitized texts on reading com-
prehension (cf. Mangen et al., 2013). When reading on paper, readers have im-
mediate sensory access to text sequence, as well as to the entirety of the text. ey
can discern visually, as well as sense kinesthetically, their page by page progress
through the text; the paper substrate provides physical, tactile, and spatiotempo-
rally xed cues to text length (Mangen, 2006; Sellen & Harper, 2002). In contrast,
when reading on screen, readers may see (e.g., using page numbers) but not kin-
esthetically sense their page by page progress through the text. Hence, overview
of the text’s organization and structure (Eklundh, 1992; Piolat et al., 1997) — the
reader’s “sense of the text” (Haas, 1996) — may be diminished. While such loss of
text length overview and of location in the text may matter for reading in general,
having a “sense of the text” may matter especially for narrative genres. On the
one hand, because narratives are based on a chronological ordering of actions and
events, a parallel kinesthetic sense of the unfolding reading event may support
immersion in the narrated world. On the other hand, separation from this kines-
thetic sense of the physical reading event may be precisely what prevents immer-
sion in the narrative world — and becoming “lost” there. Research to date does not
enable armation of either of these conicting possibilities.
Reading literary narrative on paper and screen
e increasing use of tablets and e-readers for literary reading motivates closer
scrutiny of the eects of such devices on aective and emotional, as well as cog-
nitive-perceptual, processes and outcomes. Literary reading has been found to be
Lost in an iPad 
positively correlated with cognitive skills such as vocabulary and reading com-
prehension (Cipielewski & Stanovich, 1992; Mol & Bus, 2011; Stanovich, 1993),
apparently contributing to the development of academic skills. But, there is also
a growing body of research indicating that literary reading plays a role in the de-
velopment and support of social and emotional skills, such as empathy (Kidd &
Castano, 2013; Mar & Oatley, 2008; Mason & Just, 2009; Oatley, 2011a; Oatley,
Mar, & Djikic, 2012). If literary reading contributes to mental and social well-
being, we should ask whether the aordances of digital reading devices facilitate
or impede these outcomes.
Recent research on literary reading indicates that, when people are “trans-
ported” (Gerrig, 1993) into a literary narrative, they become more empathic not
only toward characters in the text but also toward individuals beyond the text (Bal
& Veltkamp, 2013). In a number of studies, Mar and his colleagues (Mar & Oatley,
2008; Mar, Oatley, Hirsh, dela Paz, & Peterson, 2006; Mar, Oatley, & Peterson,
2009) have demonstrated associations between reading narrative ction (as op-
posed to non-ction) and readers’ levels of empathy. e prevailing explanation
for these ndings is that ction is an imaginal simulation of inter-personal experi-
ences in the real world; readers transported into the simulated world can practice
social skills and emotional response without worrying about the risks associated
with real-world encounters (Oatley, 2011b; Zunshine, 2006): “ctional worlds
provide safe zones for readers’ feeling empathy without experiencing a resultant
demand on real-world action. is freedom from obligation paradoxically opens
up the channels for…empathy” (Keen, 2007, p. 4). Whether the medium through
which narrative ction is presented bolsters or attenuates transportation and, by
implication, empathy is a focal question in the present study.
Transportation, a concept introduced by Gerrig (1993), is roughly dened
as immersion or engagement in (ctional or nonctional) narratives. e reader
becomes partially and temporarily isolated from the physical and temporal cor-
relates of the real world (see also Busselle & Bilandzic, 2008, 2009; Green & Brock,
2000, 2002; Nell, 1988). Transportation may vary as a function of modality (e.g.,
written text as opposed to lm). However, perhaps less obvious than the dier-
ence between engagement in a written narrative and in an audiovisual enactment
are the potential dierences between being immersed in written narrative pre-
sented on paper as opposed to written narrative presented on a tablet (e.g., an
iPad). Due to dierent sensorimotor contingencies and ergonomic aordances,
engaging digitally presented written text on a tablet may inuence cognitive and
emotional aspects of the reading experience in ways that dier from engagement
with the same texts on paper. For instance, the haptic and tactile aordances of a
screen substrate (e.g., the feel of “turning” the pages) may contribute to “haptic
dissonance(Gerlach & Buxmann, 2011), i.e., a sense that something is “missing”
 Anne Mangen and Don Kuiken
in the reading experience. An outcome of such dissonance could be an experience
of awkwardness handling the medium, which may, in turn, negatively aect the
sense of involvement in the story.
Previous studies have explored how reader engagement varies as a function
of genre (Djikic, Oatley, Zoeterman, & Peterson, 2009), style (Braun & Cupchik,
2001), or literariness (e.g., defamiliarization or foregrounding) (Hakemulder,
2004; Miall & Kuiken, 1994, 1999). To our knowledge, no one has investigated
empirically how reading the same written narrative presented on paper or on a
tablet aects readers’ reported levels of transportation and perhaps empathy.
To address this issue, the present study investigated how the screen substrate, as
exemplied by a Kindle app on an iPad, may alter and potentially disrupt readers
involvement in an emotionally charged narrative. More specically, we explored
whether features of the reading medium directly disrupt transportation and
indirectly impede empathy.
Modulating transportation: Fiction vs. nonction
e sense of being transported into a narrative, whether written or audiovisual,
is not limited to ctional accounts. Viewers are immersed in TV documentaries
as well as in feature lms, and readers are immersed in historical accounts and
autobiographies as well as in literary texts. As we engage ctional and nonctional
textual narratives in an increasing number of reading devices, examining the (po-
tentially mediating) role of ctionality may yield interesting results. Specically, it
may shed light on potentially disruptive eects of dierent media substrates of text
presentation, especially whether these vary as a function of paratextual cues (i.e.,
presenting the same story as “ction or as “non-ction”; cf. Appel & Malečkar,
ere is a widespread conviction that ction (as opposed to nonction) en-
ables transportation and, by implication, empathy (Mar & Oatley, 2008; Mar,
Oatley, Hirsh, dela Paz, & Peterson, 2006; Johnson, 2012). However, the validity of
these convictions has not been tested across reading media. Hence, one primary
goal of the present study was to examine how readers’ expectations about the re-
ality status of the text (i.e., the inuence of paratextual cues) may interact with
medium of text presentation to alter transportation. More specically, we wanted
to investigate whether readers who read the text as ction or as nonction on an
iPad would report dierent levels of transportation than readers reading the text
as ction or as nonction on paper.
Our manipulation of paratextual cues was adapted from Zwaan’s study (1993),
which suggested that readers’ recall and reconstruction of text varies as a function
of the dierent forms of cognition that guide reading ctional vs. non-ctional
narratives. In Zwaan’s paradigm, one group of readers is told that the narrative is
Lost in an iPad 
taken from a newspaper article, and a second group is told that the same narrative
is a literary text. In Zwaan’s original study, participants in the “literary” condi-
tion had longer reading times, better memory for surface information, and poorer
memory for situational information than did participants in the “news” condition.
Rather than focusing on these cognitive outcomes, however, our study was con-
cerned with variations in transportation (and empathy). at shi in outcomes
may call for a revised formulation of how the paratext manipulation works.
Zwaan originally proposed that, reading a narrative as non-ction initiat-
ed use of a comprehension control system that favors relatively fast processing
(“skimming”), compared with a literary comprehension control system that favors
slow processing (“savoring”). is assumption motivates the paratext manipula-
tion in our study: paratext cues have an eect on the degree to which readers en-
gage deeply with the text. Being told that the text being read is a piece of literature
may slow reading, hence allowing for deeper engagement with the text. Zwaan’s
paradigm merits renewed attention with the transition from paper to screen, as
screen reading is characterized by skimming and scanning, rather than in-depth
engagement (Baccino, 2004; Bradford, 2012; Dyson & Haselgrove, 2000; Eveland
& Dunwoody, 2002; Liu, 2005, 2012; Wolf, 2007). If screen substrates, generally
(and irrespective of genre or text type), are less compatible with “deep reading”
(Wolf & Barzillai, 2009; Wolf, Ullman-Shade, & Gottwald, 2012), we may ask
whether aordances of screen substrates dierently (i.e., less strongly) aect the
readers’ experience when reading ction and non-ction, respectively, compared
with readers reading on paper.
However, an alternative conception of the contrast between reading the same
narrative as ction or as non-ction is that the non-ction instructions encour-
age a mode of engagement that supports disciplined assessment of narrative real-
ism. In contrast, the ction instructions may initiate a mode of engagement that
supports exible response to suggestion and consideration of what might have
“happened” in an imagined world. e latter may entail vivid imaginal reconstruc-
tion of the narrator’s world (transportation), including the characters the narra-
tor presents (empathy). Although some recent neuroscience research (Altmann,
Borhn, Lublich et al., 2012) favors the latter account, neither of these perspectives
on experimentally induced, paratext-guided expectations leads to clear expecta-
tions about how the presenting medium interacts with the paratextual expecta-
tions. For that reason, the present study is best considered an exploration of pos-
sibilities, rather than explicit hypothesis testing. We intended to explore whether
medium aordances of an iPad or a text booklet disrupt the assessment of narra-
tive realism (when reading a story as “non-ction”), the imaginal reconstruction
of a narrative world (when reading the same story as “ction”), or both. In doing
so, we used methods that enable dierentiation between those aspects of narrative
 Anne Mangen and Don Kuiken
engagement that contribute to impressions of narrative realism (e.g., narrative co-
herence) and those aspects of narrative engagement that contribute to imaginal
involvement in the narrative world (e.g., transportation). We were also able to as-
sess whether, as recent evidence suggests (Kidd & Castano, 2013), transportation
is associated with aective response to characters in the narrative (e.g., empathy).
One hundred and forty-ve participants (38 men, 107 women) were recruited on
the campus of a large North-American university (52 were psychology undergrad-
uate students who participated for partial course credit; the remaining 93 were
volunteers who participated for compensation).
Design summary
All participants were randomly assigned to one of four conditions in a 2 (medium:
booklet vs. iPad) by 2 (paratext: ction vs. nonction) between-subjects factorial
Reading materials
e text chosen for the experiment, titled “Murder in the Mall, has been used
in previous studies that involve a paratext manipulation (Green & Brock, 2000;
Appel & Malečkar, 2012). Based on true events, the story is adapted from a book
by Sherwin B. Nuland (1994) called How We Die. e story blends clinical terms
and personal recollections in a portrayal of how the eyes of a person who is about
to die seem to express relief and peace, rather than fear, at the moment of transi-
tion from being barely alive to being clinically dead. More specically, the text
describes a tragic event that actually happened in the middle of a busy summer
day outside a shopping mall in small-town Connecticut. A psychiatric person on
probation attacked a nine-year old girl and stabbed her to death with a large knife,
with a number of people (including the girl’s mother) as horried witnesses. In the
original version, the personal sections of the text are narrated through the voice
and perspective of the mother, sitting with her dying daughter in her arms and
observing the changes in her eyes as she is dying. For the purposes of the present
study, the original story was altered slightly to avoid excessive distress. Specically,
the experimental text replaced the mother with a homeless person who comes to
Lost in an iPad 
the little girl’s rescue but is killed instead of her. e homeless person’s courageous
and altruistic act was expected to attenuate the story’s distressing (and potentially
appalling) eect.
Paratext: Fiction vs. non-ction
To test the eect of paratext on experiential outcomes in dierent reading media,
the text was presented with either ction or nonction instructions. e ction
reading instructions read as follows: “You are about to read a literary short story
which was featured in the 1995 collection of the Best Canadian Short Fiction pub-
lished by Northern Lights Press, a Toronto-based independent publisher. Even
though the events described may seem real, any resemblance to real persons and
places is entirely coincidental. Please read the literary text as you would normally
read any piece of ction.Instructions for subjects in the nonction condition
read as follows: “You are about to read a short story which describes an event that
actually happened. e short story was featured in the Christian Science Monitor’s
annual review in 1995, and it describes an event that took place in Connecticut
that same year. Please read the text as you would normally read any piece of non-
Reading devices: iPad w/Kindle app vs. booklet
e print text was presented as a booklet consisting of letter-size pages stapled in
the upper le corner. To make the iPad presentation as visually close to the print
presentation as possible, we used the Kindle app for iPad. is allows page-turning
only by swiping the nger back and forth across the page, with no other visual ad-
justments (e.g., zooming, changing fonts). In addition, the iPad screen was locked
in the “portrait” orientation to maintain a visual appearance comparable to that of
the booklet and to minimize disruptions due to handling, posturing, and (unin-
tentional) rotation. e length of the text was approximately 5 pages in the booklet
condition and approximately 7.5 pages in the iPad condition. e discrepancy in
text length between the two media is an outcome of balancing text legibility con-
cerns (e.g., font size; size of margins) with surface dimensions of the two media.
e size of a “page” on an iPad screen is smaller than a print letter size (147 mm ×
196 mm and 216 mm x 279 mm, respectively). In order not to unduly compromise
on reader friendliness by decreasing font size, we accepted the soware default
ratio for adapting the printed 7,5 pages of word-formatted text to the Kindle app.
is way, font size, typography and margins were kept intact in both media.
 Anne Mangen and Don Kuiken
Participants were told that they were going to read a short text and then answer
some questions. ey were also asked to start a stopwatch when they started read-
ing, and to stop it when they had nished. e participants’ task was not time-
constrained, and they were told that they could go back and forth in the text as
they wished. en participants in all conditions read the same short narrative text
before completing a series of questionnaires, including (1) a state oriented adapta-
tion of Busselle and Bilandzic’s Narrative Engagement Scale (2009); (2) a question-
naire (created specically for this experiment) assessing Interface Interference; and
(3) a series of items assessing prior experience with electronic media, such as an
iPad or similar tablet technologies. We also included questions about participants’
estimated reading time and estimated text length, as well as a set of word and sen-
tence recognition tasks and questions measuring inference-based comprehension.
Narrative engagement. e Busselle and Bilandzic (2009) Narrative Engagement
Scale is a 12-item condensation of an original array of 40 items reecting 10 as-
pects of response to narrative: empathy, sympathy, cognitive perspective-taking,
loss of time, loss of self, narrative presence, narrative involvement, distraction,
ease of cognitive access, and narrative realism. Our objectives motivated adap-
tation of the trait orientation of the original Busselle and Bilandzic item array
to make them suited for a state oriented assessment of narrative engagement.
Consequently, rather than relying on results of the authorsoriginal (trait orient-
ed) factor analyses, we conducted exploratory factor analysis (EFA) of our adapted
(state oriented) item array. Specically, we created miniscales for each of the 10
theoretically organized sets of items presented in Busselle and Bilandzic’s original
report (see their Table 1). en, aer removing items that adversely aected the
internal consistency of these 3- to 6-item sets, we conducted EFA (principal com-
ponents; Varimax rotation) of these 10 internally consistent miniscales. Results
indicated three factors (eigenvalue > 1) explaining 59% of the variance. e EFA
with Varimax (an orthogonal solution) was repeated with Direct Oblimin (a non-
orthogonal solution), which produced essentially the same factor structure. In
both cases, the factors were distinctively identied (i.e., loadings greater than .400
on a single factor) with the following miniscales:
Narrative Coherence (a combination of Narrative Realism [e.g., “e story
was logical and convincing”] and Cognitive Perspective-taking [e.g., “I under-
stood the reasons why the characters did what they did”]);
Lost in an iPad 
Transportation (a combination of Lost Self-awareness [e.g., “At times during
the reading, I completely forgot that I was in the middle of an experiment”],
Sense of Presence [e.g., “At times during the reading, I was closer to the situa-
tion described in the story than the realities of the here-and-now”], and Lost
Sense of Time [e.g., “While reading, I lost track of time”]); and
Empathy/Sympathy (a combination of Empathy [e.g., “At important moments
in the narrative, I could feel the emotions the characters felt”] and Sympathy
[e.g., “I was worried for some of the characters in the story”]).
Interface interference. e Interface Interference questionnaire included 25 items
that gauged several ergonomic aordances of each reading medium (scale: 0 = not
at all true to 4 = extremely true; sample items: “e physical features of the booklet
[iPad] disrupted my immersion in the story”; “I felt awkward holding the book-
let [iPad] during reading”). EFA suggested three coherent multi-item subscales:
Resistance to Distraction, Awkwardness, and Dislocation (see Appendix). e
6-item Resistance to Distraction subscale reects resistance to potential interfer-
ence by the reading medium (e.g., “e features of the booklet [iPad] interfered
with my involvement in the story” [reverse scored]; “e booklet [iPad] did not
aect my comprehension of the story”; α= .81). e 2-item Awkwardness subscale
reects inept handling or manipulation of the medium (e.g., “I felt awkward ma-
nipulating the booklet [iPad] during reading”; “I felt awkward holding the booklet
[iPad] during reading”; α= .78). e 4-item Dislocation subscale reects uncer-
tainty about location within the text (e.g., “I had a hard time getting a sense of
how long the text was”; “I always knew how much text I had le to read” [reverse
scored]; α= .85).
Prior experience with tablet technologies. We asked directly (i) if participants had
their own iPads (or similar tablet technology); (ii) the extent of their daily use
(“0”= less than a week to “4” more than four weeks); and (iii) most common ac-
tivities/purposes: entertainment (5 items; browsing, social media, games, movies,
or music; α= .82) and reading (4-items; literature, newspapers, class work, other;
α= .68).
Eects of medium: Interface interference
Dislocation. Reading a story on an iPad may have created uncertainty in read-
ers’ temporal sense of the text. We conducted a 2 × 2 factorial ANOVA in which
medium and paratext were between-subjects factors and the Dislocation subscale
 Anne Mangen and Don Kuiken
was the dependent variable. A medium main eect, F(1,141) = 65.71, p < .001, in-
dicated that those reading from the iPad were more unsure of their location in the
text (MiPad =2.84) than were those reading from the booklet (Mbooklet = 1.60). is
eect remained signicant when we statistically controlled for the extent of prior
experience with an iPad, either for entertainment or for reading.
Uncertainty about location within the text in the iPad condition did not lead
to conspicuously inaccurate estimates of text length. Although readers in the iPad
condition thought the text was longer (MiPad = 6.93) than did readers in the booklet
condition, (Mbooklet = 5.16), F(1,140) = 38.58, p < .001, estimates in both conditions
corresponded closely with actual text length (about 7.5 pages on the iPad; about 5
pages in the booklet). us, although being “lost” in an iPad text apparently means
uncertainty about temporal location within the duration of the reading event, it
does not mean confusion about textual boundaries.
Awkwardness. Reading a story on an iPad may also have been disrupted by unfa-
miliarity with the activities by which the text is manipulated (e.g., page turning).
Consistent with this possibility, a 2 × 2 factorial ANOVA in which medium and
paratext were between-subjects factors and the Awkwardness subscale was the de-
pendent variable provided a medium main eect, F(1,141) = 16.54, p < .001. ose
reading from the iPad (MiPad = 1.09) were more likely than those reading from the
booklet (Mbooklet = 0.48) to report awkwardness in their eorts to manipulate the
reading medium. is eect also remained signicant when we statistically con-
trolled for prior experience with an iPad, either for entertainment or for reading.
Summary. Across paratext conditions, and independently of prior experience with
electronic media, dislocation within the text was common in the iPad condition,
and iPad users reported awkwardness while handling their medium.
Eects of medium: Narrative engagement
e temporal dislocation and physical awkwardness associated with reading nar-
rative text on an iPad suggested that reading the story on that electronic medium
would attenuate narrative engagement. However, the attenuation of narrative en-
gagement while reading on an iPad was evident specically in the non-ction con-
Correlations between the Direct Oblimin factor scores for Narrative
Engagement varied: r = .45 (Narrative Coherence x Transportation), r = .28
(Narrative Coherence x Empathy/Sympathy), and r = .20 (Transportation x
Empathy/Sympathy). Even so, these levels of convergence justied a two-way
medium by paratext MANOVA with these three factor scores as dependent vari-
ables. We found a signicant medium by paratext interaction, Wilks’ λ = .902,
Lost in an iPad 
F(3,139) = 5.04, p = .002. Moreover, the univariate medium by paratext interac-
tions were signicant for Narrative Coherence, F(1,141) = 6.46, p = .012, and
Transportation, F(1,141) = 12.66, p = .001, but only marginally signicant for
Empathy/Sympathy, F(3,139) = 3.40, p = .067. MANOVAs involving each factor’s
component miniscales claried these results: reading the story as non-ction on
an iPad disrupted Narrative Coherence, Transportation, and Sympathy — but not
Narrative coherence. A two-way medium by paratext MANOVA with the two com-
ponents of Narrative Coherence (i.e., Narrative Realism, Cognitive Perspective-
taking) as dependent variables provided a signicant medium by paratext interac-
tion, Wilks’ λ = .896, F(2,140) = 8.09, p < .001; the simple eect of medium on the
linear combination of Narrative Realism and Cognitive Perspective-taking was
signicant in the “non-ction” condition (p = .001), but not in the “ction” condi-
tion (p = .147).
e univariate medium by paratext interactions were signicant for both
components of Narrative Coherence. As indicated in Table 1, among those in the
“non-ctioncondition, iPad readers were less likely than booklet readers to re-
port Narrative Realism (simple main eect, p = .003); among those in the “ction
condition, reading on an iPad modestly (but not signicantly) increased reported
Narrative Realism (simple main eect, p = .064). Similarly, in the “non-ction”
condition, iPad readers were less likely than booklet readers to report Cognitive
Perspective-taking (simple main eect, p < .001); in the “ction” condition, me-
dium did not signicantly aect Cognitive Perspective-taking (simple main eect,
p = .113).
In summary, specically in the “non-ction” condition, iPad readers were less
likely than booklet readers to report Narrative Coherence. at eect remained
signicant when we statistically controlled for prior experience with an iPad, ei-
ther for entertainment or for reading.
Transportation. Reading from an iPad also attenuated Transportation in the “non-
ction” condition. A two-way medium by paratext MANOVA with the three com-
ponents of Transportation (i.e., Lost Self-awareness, Sense of Presence, and Lost
Sense of Time) as dependent variables revealed a signicant medium by paratext
interaction, Wilks’ λ = .945, F(3,139) = 2.700, p = .048. e simple eect of medium
on the linear combination of Lost Self-awareness, Sense of Presence, and Lost
Sense of Time was signicant in the “non-ction” condition (p = .025), but not in
the “ction” condition (p = .559).
Moreover, the univariate medium by paratext interactions were signicant
for all three components of Transportation. Among readers who believed that the
story was non-ction, iPad readers were less likely than booklet readers to report
 Anne Mangen and Don Kuiken
Lost Self-awareness (p = .006); among readers who believed the story was ction,
the eect of medium was not signicant (p = .332). Similarly, among those in the
“non-ctioncondition, iPad readers were less likely than booklet readers to re-
port Sense of Presence (p = .005); among readers in the “ction” condition, the
eect of medium was not signicant (p = .752). Finally, among those in the “non-
ction” condition, iPad readers were less likely than booklet readers to report Lost
Sense of Time (p = .072); among readers who believed the story was ction, the
eect of medium was not signicant (p = .221).
In summary, specically in the “non-ction” condition, iPad readers were less
likely than booklet readers to report Transportation. is eect remained signi-
cant when we statistically controlled for prior experience with an iPad for either
entertainment or reading.
Empathy/sympathy. A two-way medium by paratext MANOVA with Empathy and
Sympathy as dependent variables also revealed a signicant medium by paratext
interaction, Wilks’ λ = .958, F(2,140) = 3.061, p = .050. However, the simple eect of
medium on the linear combination of Empathy and Sympathy was not signicant
in either the “non-ction” (p = .087) or “ction” (p = .076) condition.
e signicance of these results became clearer through the univariate analy-
ses of Empathy and Sympathy. e pattern found for Narrative Coherence and
Transportation (see above) was also found for Sympathy (but not Empathy). A sig-
nicant medium by paratext interaction, F(1,141) = 5.98, p = .016, indicated that,
among readers of “non-ction,” iPad readers were less likely than booklet readers
to report Sympathy (p = .054); among readers of “ction,” the eect of medium was
not signicant (p = .133). When Empathy was included as the dependent variable,
there were no signicant condition dierences. is pattern remained when we
Table 1. Mean scores for narrative engagement as a function of medium and
paratext conditions
iPad Booklet
Narrative Engagement Nonction Fiction Nonction Fiction
Narrative Realism 2.68* 3.01 3.19* 2.70
Cognitive Perspective-taking 2.51* 2.86 3.05* 2.63
Lost Self-awareness 2.24* 2.75 2.87* 2.53
Sense of Presence 2.47* 2.70 2.99* 2.64
Lost Sense of Time 2.39* 2.56 2.77* 2.31
Sympathy 2.22* 2.31 2.57* 2.04
Empathy 2.28 2.34 2.73 2.46
* Means with an asterisk (within rows) dier signicantly from each other (p < .05; analyses of simple eects).
Lost in an iPad 
statistically controlled for the extent of prior experience with an iPad, either for
entertainment or for reading.
In summary, in the “non-ctioncondition iPad readers were less likely than
booklet readers to report sympathy (but not empathy); in the “ction” condition
there was no eect of medium on either sympathy or empathy.
Supplementary analyses
Resistance to distraction, narrative coherence, and transportation. e inability to
resist distraction may have contributed to the disruption of Narrative Coherence
and Transportation while reading from an iPad in the “non-ction” condition.
We conducted a univariate ANOVA in which medium and paratext were between
subjects (categorical) factors, Resistance to Distraction was a between subjects
(continuous) factor, and the Narrative Coherence factor score (primarily reect-
ing Narrative Realism and Cognitive Perspective-taking) was the dependent vari-
able. A signicant Resistance to Distraction main eect, F(1,137) = 16.429, p < .001,
indicated that Resistance to Distraction generally predicted Narrative Coherence
factor scores (β = .36). Also, a paratext by Resistance to Distraction interaction,
F(1,137) = 5.483, p = .021, indicated that, among those reading the story as non-
ction, Resistance to Distraction predicted Narrative Coherence factor scores
(β = .49); among those reading the story as ction, Resistance to Distraction was
unrelated to Narrative Coherence (β = .14).
We conducted the analogous univariate ANOVA with Transportation fac-
tor scores (primarily reecting Lost Self-awareness, Sense of Presence, and Lost
Sense of Time) as the dependent variable. A Resistance to Distraction main eect,
F(1,137) = 10.224, p = .002, indicated that Resistance to Distraction generally pre-
dicted Transportation factor scores (β = .32). In addition, a marginally signicant
paratext by Resistance to Distraction interaction, F(1,137) = 2.153, p = .121, indi-
cated that, among those reading “non-ction,” Resistance to Distraction predicted
Transportation factor scores (β = .40); among those reading “ction,” Resistance to
Distraction was unrelated to Transportation (β = .17).
Transportation and empathy. Although Empathy per se did not vary as a func-
tion of either medium or paratext, a transported form of empathy was distinctively
evident in the booklet condition. Specically, when we conducted a medium by
paratext ANOVA that also included Transportation (factor scores) as a between-
subjects (continuous) variable, there was, a signicant Transportation main ef-
fect, F(1,137) = 23.193, p < .001; Transportation predicted Empathy (β = .38). Also,
a medium by Transportation interaction, F(1,137) = 4.142, p = .044, indicated that,
 Anne Mangen and Don Kuiken
especially among those reading (either “ctionor “non-ction”) from a booklet,
Transportation was correlated with Empathy (β = .51); among those reading on an
iPad, Transportation was only weakly (if at all) related to Empathy (β = .23).
e preceding results suggest that reading a narrative text on an iPad as though
it portrays actual” events is associated with lower levels of narrative coherence
and transportation than occur when reading the same “non-ction” narrative in a
booklet. Supplementary analyses suggest that the relatively low levels of narrative
coherence and transportation while reading “non-ction” on an iPad are associ-
ated with an inability to resist distractions related to reading medium manipula-
tion. us, simple generalizations about the liabilities of reading narrative text on
an iPad will not suce; it is necessary to explain why those liabilities are specic
to reading narrative text as “non-ction.
e preceding results also suggest that reading “non-ctionin a booklet is
associated with higher levels of cognitive perspective-taking and sympathy than
reading “non-ctionon an iPad. Supplementary analyses indicated that, among
those reading either “ction” or “non-ction” in a booklet, transportation was
strongly associated with empathy; among those reading on an iPad, transporta-
tion was unrelated to empathy. Again, simple generalizations about the advantages
of reading narrative text in a booklet will not suce; it is necessary to explain how
the origins of sympathy and cognitive perspective-taking dier from the origins of
“transported” empathy.
Interface interference
Our nding that iPad-readers generally reported more spatial and temporal dis-
location within the text is consistent with research in cognitive psychology on the
role of spatial memory in readers’ mental reconstruction of the text (Mangen et
al., 2013; Piolat et al., 1997; Wästlund, 2007). ere is evidence that readers re-
call where in the text (on the page; in the entire text corpus) certain passages or
pieces of information appeared (Piolat et al., 1997; Rothkopf, 1971; Zechmeister &
McKillip, 1972). Having a good spatial representation of the physical layout of the
text, moreover, supports reading comprehension (Baccino & Pynte, 1994; Cataldo
& Oakhill, 2000; Kintsch, 1998). In the present study, the intangibility and tran-
sient quality of a digitally displayed text (in the iPad condition) may have hindered
the representation of such spatial information. at is, when reading on the screen
“page,” readers’ sense of location may have been limited to what was visually pro-
vided in only two dimensions (e.g., page numbers, progress bars, percentiles). In
Lost in an iPad 
contrast, when reading text on paper in the stapled booklet, readers’ sense of loca-
tion in the text may have been strengthened by the tactile-kinesthetic cues that
supplement visual ones — and facilitate text memory and recall.
However, the dierence in readers’ reported sense of location did not lead
to inaccurate text length estimates in the two media conditions. Readers’ men-
tal reconstruction of text boundaries was not aected by the fact that the text on
the iPad was approx. 2.5 “pages” longer on screen than on paper. It is dicult to
say how this text length discrepancy may have inuenced the results. e outer
boundaries of an iPad “page”-on-screen are xed; the “zoom” option on the iPad
enables individual adjustment of text size (up and down) within these boundaries.
In this study, we disabled the “zoom” option, as we considered any dynamic and
changeable text features (whether by zooming, bookmarking, or rotating screen)
to be potentially confounding factors. An alternative could be to adapt the booklet
pages to be identical in size to the iPad screen. is, however, may have inter-
rupted readers’ sense of familiarity with the (normal; letter) size of paper sheets
(although, admittedly, the letter size is not the typical surface dimension on which
to read narrative ction). Future experiments should control for potentially con-
founding eects due to reading surface dimensions by matching page size across
conditions. In a recent experiment comparing mystery story reading on Kindle
and in a print pocket book, we take this into consideration by printing a dummy
pocket book in which the page dimensions match exactly those of the Kindle DX
(Mangen et al., in prep.).
A perhaps more important consideration with respect to text length and read-
ers’ reported sense of dislocation is the fact that the text, despite text length dis-
crepancy, was relatively short. e tactile feedback entailed in holding and turning
the pages of a ve page stapled letter-sized paper booklet diers signicantly from
that of holding a print book consisting of hundreds of pages, where page-turning
typically involves both hands in a mix of deliberate acts and seemingly uninten-
tional tinkering (Scarry, 2001). It remains to be empirically established whether
dierences in tactile/kinesthetic feedback between screen and paper substrates is
more salient with longer (hence, more voluminous) texts. us, a topic for future
research is whether, when reading full-length novels, readers’ sense of location in
the text is further enhanced as a function of haptic and tactile feedback.
Narrative engagement
Although iPad readers were, in general, more likely to report interface distraction
and temporal dislocation, such potentially disruptive reactions were specic to
reading the text as “non-ction.” e fact that subjects reading on the iPad gener-
ally lacked a salient sense of the text does not explain why interface distraction pre-
dicted decreased narrative coherence and transportation only in the “non-ction
 Anne Mangen and Don Kuiken
condition. us, our results are incompatible with the notion that reading on an
iPad simply disrupts or attenuates engagement with a narrative text. e explor-
atory nature of the present study precludes condent explanation of the observed
pattern, but the post hoc explanation that follows may well be considered a frame-
work for further study.
To begin, condition specic variations in narrative coherence may reect the
expectation that reading about an event “that actually happened” initially requires
an understanding of (1) how realistically story events are presented (narrative real-
ism) and (2) how impartially the story represents all the story personae (cognitive
perspective-taking). Such understanding, which in the present study was assessed
using a linear combination of the Narrative Realism and Cognitive Perspective-
taking mini-scales, was more clearly evident among readers in the booklet “non-
ctioncondition than in the iPad “non-ction” condition. Apparently booklet
“non-ction” readers were able to read the text as they would a “realistically” and
coherently” portrayed news story; compared to those reading the story as c-
tion, booklet “non-ction” readers reported that they attained a coherent grasp of
the narrative. Apparently, the non-ction instructions motivated disciplined and
determined assessment of narrative realism, and the resulting attainment of a co-
herent situation model (Zwaan, & Radvansky, 1998) may, in turn, have enabled a
shi in the deictic center of the story world in the form of imaginal reconstruction
of the narrator’s perspective (transportation). In fact, those in the booklet “non-
ction” condition reported relatively high levels of transportation and a form of
empathy that may have been deepened by the capacity for transportation.
What occurred in the booklet “non-ction” condition can be contrasted with
what occurred in the other conditions. First, compared to the booklet “non-ction
condition, readers in the iPad “non-ction” condition reported the attenuation of
narrative coherence and transportation. eir diculty may have originated in
the distracting awkwardness of manipulating the iPad; in fact, only those readers
who were able to resist medium distraction (i.e., as measured by the Resistance to
Distraction scale) reported narrative coherence and transportation. Perhaps be-
cause the distracted readers in this condition generally did not nd the narrative
coherent, they were also unable to take the next step toward transportation and
toward transportation-mediated empathy.
Readers in the iPad “ction” condition also faced the challenges of tempo-
ral dislocation and iPad awkwardness, but, in addition, they had to address the
situation created by being told that the story was a “piece of ction. Although
we unfortunately did not assess how readers understood the paratext instructions
(cf. Green and Brock [2000], experiment 4), we suspect that they did not pursue
the exible response to suggestion and reective consideration of ctional “pos-
sibilities” that is characteristic of literary reading (Altmann, Borhn, Lublich et al.,
Lost in an iPad 
2012). Instead, the medium may again have played a role, albeit an indirect one.
Recent studies comparing on-screen and on-paper learning led Ackerman and
Goldsmith (2011) to conclude that people perceive the screen as best suited for
“fast and shallow reading of short texts such as news, e-mails, and forum notes”
(p. 29). Readers in the iPad “ction” condition, then, may have concluded that the
story required the same “realistic” assessment expected of news reports, emails,
and forums, rather than the imaginative response to suggestion and possibility
expected of literary reading. at may explain why readers in the iPad “ction
condition reported modest (and statistically insignicant) increases in perceived
narrative coherence, reaching levels comparable to those reported by readers in
the booklet “non-ctioncondition. In brief, readers in both conditions made a
determined eort to assess (1) how realistically story events were presented (nar-
rative realism) and (2) the extent to which the story presented the perspectives
of all the personae involved (cognitive perspective-taking). However, readers in
the iPad “ction” condition also arm that grasping narrative coherence does not
directly mediate transportation and empathy. e awkwardness and temporal dis-
location of reading on an iPad may have precluded those particular aspects of
narrative engagement.
It is perhaps most dicult to explain why readers in the booklet “ction” condi-
tion not only reported limited narrative coherence but also limited transportation
and empathy. Some of our results indicate that reading the story as ction made
engagement (resistance to medium distraction) dicult regardless of whether the
medium was an iPad or a booklet. e booklet was, in fact, a rough assemblage of
stapled pages, rather than a more congenial conguration comparable to a book
or magazine. Hence, some readers had diculty resisting the distractions of ma-
nipulating the booklet, and those who were unable to do so reported attenuated
narrative coherence. ose distractions, then, may have precluded the transporta-
tion and empathy that reading the story as ction would otherwise have allowed.
e model emerging from the preceding post hoc explanatory eorts incorpo-
rates the following proposals:
1. A determined and disciplined quest for narrative coherence may be motivated
either by manipulating the impression that the text should be read as non-
ction or by readers’ independently established impression that a digital me-
dium supports reading the text in the same way they read non-ction;
2. Readers’ quest for narrative coherence may be disrupted by the distractions
of manipulating an awkward physical medium (especially, but not only, the
iPad), although those who eectively resist such distractions may nonetheless
grasp the coherence of a ctional narrative; and
 Anne Mangen and Don Kuiken
3. A successful quest for narrative coherence enables (but does not directly me-
diate) transportation and perhaps a deeply transported form of empathy.
e third proposal requires situating this transported form of empathy among con-
ceptually and empirically independent measures of cognitive perspective-taking.
Recent evidence that a “basic” form of empathy must be dierentiated from cog-
nitive perspective-taking (Derntl et al., 2010; Reniers, Corcoran, Drake, Shryane,
& Völlm, 2011; Spunt & Lieberman, 2011) is echoed in our factorially indepen-
dent mini-scales for state oriented Cognitive Perspective-taking and Empathy.
e importance of this distinction is modestly armed by evidence that cognitive
perspective-taking (as well as sympathy) was evident among booklet readers in the
“non-ction condition only. In contrast, deeply transported (“basic”) empathy
was evident among booklet readers independently of paratextual cues (“ction”
vs. non-ction”).
In transported (“basic”) empathy, the narrative world becomes sensed through
the intimate mediation of another’s posture, gestures, movements, and bearing.
Such empathy shis the reader’s deictic centre to a peripersonal space that is
within the (actual or implied) “reach” of a story character. e directing inten-
tions (implicit “pointing”) of demonstrative reference (“this,” “here,” “now”) seem
to shi from allocentric and scene-relevant presence to an intimate, action-cen-
tered perspective. Forms of transported (“basic”) empathy include (1) contagion,
(2), covert motor imitation; and (3) metaphoric identication, while secondary
forms of empathy include (1) projection; (2) interpersonal causal attributions; and
(3) narrative “mentalizing” (cf. Kuiken & Oliver, 2013). e present project takes
some small steps toward identication of how and when dierent reading media
inuence these contrasting forms of “empathy.
Prospects for future research
Future studies should examine whether the sense of dislocation in the iPad con-
dition was due to the intangibility of the digital substrate or the awkwardness of
manipulating that medium. Also, to tease out the eects of these medium-related
factors for narrative coherence, it is important to examine more concretely how
they aect construction of a situation model, including not only representation of
the spatial and temporal concreteness of the narrated world, but also the reader’s
relocation of that world’s deictic center through transportation and transported
(“basic”) empathy. e increasing use of screen technologies for long-form read-
ing of narrative texts warrants attention to the potentially mediating or moderat-
Lost in an iPad 
ing role of a screen substrate for readers’ comprehension of the world of the text
from such an altered deictic center.
Additionally, empirical research is needed to shed light on the extent to which
such experiential outcomes might dier as a function of dierent screen technolo-
gies, such as electronic ink versus LCD (liquid crystal display). ere is evidence
(Benedetto et al., 2013; Siegenthaler et al., 2011, 2012) that e-readers based on
electronic ink (e.g., Kindle) provide more reader-friendly visual ergonomics than
LCD backlit tablet screens (e.g., iPad). An e-reader screen merely reects ambient
light rather than emitting light, allowing long-form reading with less visual fatigue
and eye strain, comparable to that of paper. Visuo-perceptual aspects of reading
were not addressed in the present experiment. Future research is needed to exam-
ine potential correlations between visual ergonomics, sensorimotor contingencies,
and cognitive and emotional outcomes of literary as well as non-literary reading
and how these may vary with dierent substrates.
With respect to emotional outcomes, particular attention should be given to
the moments of experiential incongruity between the temporal structure (usually
continuity) of the world of the text and the temporal structure of the spatially and
temporally separate realm of sensorimotor action required for text navigation. For
example, readers in the booklet condition in the present study could easily discern,
based on both visual and tactile cues, how near they were to the conclusion of the
story, while readers in the iPad condition had no indication of its length beyond
instructions indicating that they were going to read a “short” story. e resulting
disorientation during physical navigation of the digital text may have interfered
with relocation of the reader’s deictic center from the world of the reading event to
the world emerging from the narrative. Such disorientation may create what has
been called haptic dissonance (Gerlach & Buxmann, 2011). Reading a novel on a
tablet or e-reader doesn’t feel like what reading a novel should feel like, and readers
report missing the tactile feel of holding the book in their hands, tinkering with
the pages, feeling the paper on their ngertips, etc. (Gerlach & Buxmann, 2011; see
also Scarry, 2001; Pattuelli & Rabina, 2010; Rose, 2011).
e intangibility of the digital text also may inuence the emergence of emo-
tional responses to the text. Reading is fundamentally a temporal process and
emotional responses, such as empathy, require time to develop. Whereas audiovi-
sual modalities of story transmission (lm; computer games) impose a given rate
of presentation on the viewer/listener, substrates for text-based story transmis-
sion such as a book or the Kindle app on an iPad leave the reader in control of
temporal progression. As Feagin (1996) notes, “the speed or pace of one’s read-
ing can have enormous aective implications.” (p. 235). e fact that the (literary)
reader can slow down, reverse direction, and even stop progress through the nar-
rative is of fundamental importance for emotional engagement with its content.
 Anne Mangen and Don Kuiken
Analogously, Zillmann (1991) notes that, in contrast to text-based story presenta-
tions, iconic representations in the mass media are typically fast paced, possibly
curtailing viewers’ aective reactions to emotional complexities of story personae.
e advent of tablet technologies for text reading warrants additional distinctions
between media (of representation, transmission and display) and modalities (e.g.,
text vs. audiovisuals). Reading text-based narratives on paper versus screen invites
reconsideration of the role of temporality for emotional engagement in a narra-
tive. When reading on an iPad, and on paper, the modality is the same (viz., text);
however, the interplay and potential mediation between sensorimotor contingen-
cies dened by the substrate aordances of screens versus paper presents another
layer of complexity in need of careful investigation. Comparisons of (perhaps
more obvious) dierences in emotional engagement and immersion between dif-
ferent modalities such as lm and literature should therefore be accompanied by
research comparing mediating and moderating “within-modality” eects of paper
and screen aordances on linear text (e.g., narratives; novels, short stories, poems)
Another potentially important factor is the eect of medium on metacogni-
tion during reading. e ability to monitor one’s reading has been shown to cor-
relate with reading comprehension (Garner, 1987; Paris, Wasik, & Turner, 1991).
However, an even more important consideration may be whether reective con-
sideration of aective resonance across passages of the text (Kuiken, Campbell,
& Sopčák, 2012) is disrupted by the diculty of navigating a narrative presented
on a digital device. Reective consideration of richly descriptive and aectively
resonant text may be more dicult when the reader is distracted by eorts to ma-
nipulate the medium. e present results suggest that it is important to consider
separately the components of such aective resonance (transportation, empathy)
— and of the forms of reection that support them. Moreover, contrasting patterns
of dierences were evident for specic components of narrative engagement (e.g.,
narrative coherence and empathy). Given the correspondence between the three
factors we identied (Narrative Coherence, Transportation, Empathy/Sympathy)
and three of the four factors reported by Busselle and Bilandzic (2009), and given
the contrasting patterns we observed for dierent components of engagement
(e.g., narrative coherence and empathy), the unity of narrative engagement cannot
be taken for granted. at may be especially important to take into account when
the temporal course of these aspects of reading experience is examined concretely.
Finally, there is a need to assess the extent to which observed dierences be-
tween reading on paper and on screen may be an issue of cohort characteristics
and, more specically, whether increased experience with digital devices may
ameliorate potentially negative eects. In much research literature on digitization
and reading, it is suggested that children growing up with ubiquitous access to
Lost in an iPad 
digital technologies possess distinct and sophisticated skills using these technolo-
gies (see, e.g., Margaryan, Littlejohn, & Vojt, 2011, and Livingstone, 2010, 2012,
for an overview). Commonly labelled digital natives” (cf. Prensky, 2001), these
cohorts purportedly show dierent patterns of technology preference and read-
ing/learning habits than do older generations. According to this idea, today’s uni-
versity students, such as the sample in the present experiment, can be considered
digital natives. As shown, however, our ndings were independent of subjects’
reported prior experience with iPad or similar tablet technologies. is could be
read to support the conclusions in a number of metastudies (Bennett & Maton,
2010; Bennett, Maton, & Kervin, 2008; Helsper & Eynon, 2010; Jones, Ramanau,
Cross, & Healing, 2010), converging to indicate that claims about an emerging
generation of “digital natives” oen seem exaggerated and lack substantiating evi-
dence. Nevertheless, more empirical (in particular, longitudinal) research is need-
ed to establish empirically to what extent and in what sense the eects are due to
patterns of cohort media habits.
e authors would like to thank David S. Miall, Paul Campbell, and Daniel Mantei, University
of Alberta, for contributions to the design of this study.
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Interface Interference Subscales
Resistance to Distraction
Note: e Interface Interference Scale was used for the rst time in this study. Due to the pre-
liminary nature of this instrument, we list only the three subscales that were retained for the
Subscales Items
Resistance to Distraction
Cronbach’s alpha > .81
RDIS1 e booklet [iPad] did not have any eect on my immersion
in the story
RDIS2 e physical features of the booklet [iPad] disrupted my im-
mersion in the story (R)
RDIS3 e features of the booklet [iPad] interfered with my in-
volvement in the story (R)
RDIS4 I had a good grasp of the structure of the story as I was
RDIS5 e booklet [iPad] did not aect my comprehension of the
RDIS6 e physical features of the booklet [iPad] captured my at-
tention during reading (R)
Lost in an iPad 
Subscales Items
Cronbach’s alpha > .85
DLOC1 e length of the text was unclear to me
DLOC2 I always knew how much text I had le to read (R)
DLOC3 I had a hard time getting a sense of how long the text was
DLOC4 I knew how much of the text I had read at all times (R)
Cronbach’s alpha > .78
AWK1 I felt awkward manipulating the booklet [iPad] during read-
AWK2 I felt awkward holding the booklet [iPad] during reading
Corresponding author’s address
Anne Mangen
e Reading Centre
University of Stavanger
NO-4036 Stavanger
... Gerlach & Buxmann (2011) suggest they may lead to "haptic dissonance" whereby EDA DURING PRINT AND DIGITAL SHARED READING 8 reading from digital texts does not feel like people expect it to feel. According to Mangen and Kuiken (2014), this could lead to a sense of awkwardness that impacts how much readers feel involved with the story. Researchers have found that many visual features, such as text size, line spacing, screen and ambient lighting, and contrast, are related to speed and accuracy of reading from screens (Garland & Noyes, 2004;Lee et al., 2011), and that certain types of screens can be more likely than others to produce eye fatigue (Benedetto et al., 2013). ...
... One difference in how adults experience print and digital narrative stories includes narrative transportation, which refers to a feeling of immersion into a narrative, or the feeling that one is transported into the story world (Green & Brock, 2000). Mangen and Kuiken (2014) reported that adults experienced more transportation when they read a nonfiction narrative in print than on an iPad. When reading from print, transportation was moderately correlated with empathy for the characters, whereas the correlation was weaker for reading the same story on an iPad. ...
... Children's higher arousal during print shared reading suggests that they, like adults (Haddock et al., 2020;Mangen & Kuiken, 2014), may be more transported into print stories. ...
Digital picture books are increasingly available for shared reading but reports on how children engage with them differ depending on the type of measurement used. The purpose of this study was to compare pre-readers’ engagement during print and digital shared reading and test whether engagement mediated the relation between children's preference, familiarity with the stories, and media experience and their comprehension of the story. Using a within-subjects design with order and book title randomly assigned, we captured electrodermal activity from 83 children aged 3–5 years during shared print and digital reading with a researcher. We also asked children which medium they preferred and surveyed their parents about their child's familiarity with the picture books and weekly digital media experience. Children's baseline-adjusted electrodermal level was higher at the midpoint of print than digital reading. The level diverged across the course of the story, increasing during the print story and decreasing during the digital story. Preference, familiarity, and digital media experience did not predict electrodermal level, and electrodermal level did not predict story comprehension. However, the duration of weekly digital media exposure positively predicted comprehension of the digital story. The results are consistent with reports that pre-readers, like adults, process digital and print reading differently, even when digital books offer no interactive features. Children do not consistently prefer the medium in which they will be most engaged or learn best. Future research is needed to determine how interactive digital features and interactive co-readers impact this pattern of results.
... The changing nature and circumstances of reading, as digitization is growing, is a subject of debate that might influence our reading process. Literature has suggested a greater attentional effort for print texts than for digital texts (Mangen & Kuiken, 2014). While some studies stipulate higher reading comprehension on paper (Kim & Kim, 2013;Mangen, Walgermo, & Brønnick, 2013), others find no such differences between mediums (Porion, Aparicio, Megalakaki, Robert, & Baccino, 2016; Rockinson-Szapkiw, Page 2 of 9 Bresó-Grancha et al. ...
... The digital proliferation has attracted the scientific community's interest towards the reading process in the last decade (Clinton, 2019). A switch towards superficial from deep reading processes has been described in digital mediums (Mangen & Kuiken, 2014), also suggesting that those who often read in print texts are less likely to perform multiple tasks during reading than those who often read in digital screens. Not surprisingly, it has been claimed that this difference is related to encouraging divided attention in this last medium (Sanbonmatsu, Strayer, Medeiros-Ward, & Watson, 2013). ...
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The transition from on-paper to on-screen reading seems to make it necessary to raise some considerations, as a greater attentional effort has been claimed for print texts than digital ones. Not surprisingly, most university students prefer this digital medium. This research aims to examine reading times by contextualizing this phenomenon into two processes: namely, word recognition and reading comprehension task on paper and on screen. Thus, two different tasks—counterbalanced into digital and print mediums—were carried out per each participant with a preference for a digital medium: a reading comprehension task (RCT) and a lexical decision task (LDT) after reading a specific story. Participants were slower reading print texts and no statistically significant differences were found in RCT accuracy. This result suggests that the task required more cognitive resources under the print medium for those with a worse comprehension performance in reading, and a more conservative pattern in digital RCT for those with a better performance.
... In addition to changes in reading environments and situations, theoretical assumptions suggest that the reading experience and the reading practices are affected by different user interfaces and different material affordances of the reading device (e.g., Mangen & Kuiken, 2014;Mangen, 2016). Kaufman and Flanagan (2016) assumed that digital reading media can interfere with in-depth processing by triggering lower-level processing habits, such as scanning or skimming a text. ...
... Immersion is therefore regarded as a fundamental mental interaction while reading fiction, and it seems to be seriously affected by new reading media because screens have fundamentally different physical affordances than books. Mangen and Kuiken (2014) emphasise the intangibility of the screen, the loss of text length overview, and location in the text. They are concerned that these technical affordances will have effects, particularly for reading literary narratives. ...
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Empirical research on the differences between digital and print reading has recently increased, mainly concentrating on informational texts while disregarding literary texts. Concerning narrative fiction, the existing quantitative studies have found no or very few differences between reading printed books and e-books. In our focus group study, we amplify the perspective on digital and print book reading through a largely explorative approach. The results gained by interviewing 34 habitual readers of e-books in six groups show that e-books complement rather than replace printed books. Crucial differences can be found in the dimensions of the reading situation, genre selection, purpose of reading, as well as literary quality and status of the text. Furthermore, our results shed new light on the importance of the printed book as an individual material object, with its own specific iconicity and with notable consequences for intellectual possession, memory, and remembrance of read books and lived reading experiences.
... By comparison, if you read this novel as an e-book, such information is rendered only visually. Whereas, you may not be aware of it, empirical evidence suggests that the differences in sensorimotor contingencies between a print book and a digital display may affect aspects of the reading experience (Mangen and Kuiken, 2014;Mangen et al., 2019). And, finally, you may also be aware that you are sitting on a sofa, with your legs crossed, and a bit tilted to the side, so you catch the light from the lamp beside you. ...
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This paper applies an embodied perspective to the study of reading and has a twofold aim: (i) to discuss how reading is best understood in terms of cultural-cognitive performance that involves living bodies who actively engage with reading materials, and (ii) to spark a dialogue with neighboring disciplines, such as multimodality studies and movement studies, which likewise pivot on how practices and performances involve moving bodies: life is something we do. An embodied cognitive perspective considers how performance is constrained by and draws on expertise such as lived experience as well as the material affordances available in the situation. Such a perspective is crucial for reading research as this domain has been, and largely still is, dominated by the view that reading is a silent, disembodied activity that takes place in the reader's brain by means of neural mechanisms. However, recent studies of reading practices are starting to develop new explanations emphasizing the multimodal engagement in reading as crucial for managing the activity. While this perspective is still empirically underexplored, we seek to highlight how reading is managed by readers' dynamic, embodied engagement with the material. We call this engagement cognitive pacemaking, an action-perception phenomenon we argue should be considered as the key mechanism for controlling attention. We present here a framework to understand reading in terms of pacemaking by emphasizing attentional shifts constituted by embodied modulations of lived temporality. Methodologically, we combine a close reading of a classic literary text, with the focus on attentional modulation with a qualitative study of university students reading different short texts. We highlight how meaning emerges not primarily from linguistic decoding and comprehension, but also from cognitive-cultural, multimodal engagement with the text. Finally, we conclude that empirical reading research should focus on how embodied reading differs across contexts, genres, media and personalities to better scaffold and design reading settings in accordance with those aspects.
... Importantly, information about the source or author of the narrative can shape the experience of stories. This includes the identity of the author, his or her background, as well 1 The influence of the latter appears to be limited, as indicated by research in which the same story was presented in print versus online (e.g., Mangen & Kuiken, 2014) or on smaller and larger screens (Appel & Mengelkamp, 2022). as their life experience. ...
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Artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly used to accomplish complex tasks, including the creation of artworks and entertainment products. Our focus here is on user responses to AI systems as authors of fictional stories. Across two experiments we examined how the information that a story was written by AI influences narrative transportation and related experiences. In Experiment 1 (N = 325) the information that an AI had created a short story (contemporary fiction) reduced narrative transportation into this story. Experiment 2 (N = 489) was an extended replication in which genre differences (contemporary fiction versus science fiction) were addressed. As expected, ostensible AI authorship reduced transportation, but this effect was qualified by genre: Whereas the AI-authorship effect was replicated for contemporary fiction stories, transportation did not differ between human and AI authorship when participants read science fiction stories. Across both experiments, individual differences (openness, affinity for technology and attitude towards AI) did not moderate the effect of AI authorship on any of the dependent variables.
... However, experiments comparing reading on paper versus reading on screen show that deep reading on screen fails to produce the same level of text comprehension (Clinton, 2019;Delgado et al., 2018;Kong et al., 2018;Mangen et al., 2013;Singer and Alexander, 2017). Moreover, the sensorimotor contingencies of digital texts provide neither kinesthetic feedback on reading progress nor physical, tactile, or spatiotemporally fixed cues to text length and reading position (Mangen and Kuiken, 2014). Disconnection from content (Farinosi et al., 2016), disorientation regarding the temporospatial structure of texts (Mangen et al., 2019), as well as loss of concentration (Baron, 2015;Baron et al., 2017) may become crucial when reading on screen. ...
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, providing digital texts as learning material had become a common practice in academia. But little is known about who profits from and who loses out when moving from print to digital reading in higher education. In this study, we connect digital reading to digital divides, and draw on a unique data set of university students digital reading practices obtained by a quantitative survey during the lockdown semester in three European countries. Based on the statistical results for digital reading access, attitudes, motivation, skills, behavior, and support, we argue that varying digital reading experiences of students are linked to inequalities in higher education opportunities. In conclusion, our results contrast current digital policies of merely improving access to digital texts in academia to democratize higher education.
Purpose This study aims to determine college/university students’ mobile phone practices to understand key user preferences and set a baseline understanding for the development of prospective library informational mobile services. Design/methodology/approach This study is based on the results of an online-survey method. The authors recruited students majoring in the Information Science program in School of Information at Pratt Institute (USA) (74 participants) and in Kyiv National University of Cultural and Arts (Ukraine) (89 participants). Findings The general trends in the use of mobile technologies by American and Ukrainian students were identified. Key components of library mobile services are offered. Such services may include information and reference service via messengers; development of library mobile applications of audio and video content; access to educational, scientific, popular science literature and fiction; and supplementing online services with library chatbots. Research limitations/implications This study was limited to only students majoring in information science at university; however, the data obtained helps outline several general trends common to student youth who are actively working with information. Practical implications The obtained results will be useful in the practical activities of libraries and other information institutions for the development of a comprehensive information service based on mobile technology. Originality/value This study contributes to understanding how to improve library informational service considering users habits and preferences. Libraries management and librarians can use the findings as a basis for prioritizing the improvement of library informational mobile service.
The increase in screen‐based publishing over the past 30 years has sparked an evolution of reading. Reading's natural scope has ignited interest across paradigms. The resulting scholarship offers rich opportunity, but also presents a concerning challenge – approaches differ across disciplines, producing results that can be difficult to interpret and apply between fields. This article introduces both a framework for use by reading researchers across disciplines and an original interpretation of Schramm's communication model as it applies to reading. Drawing on theory and practice from communication, literacy, psychology, neuroscience and education, this article proposes a practical approach with the flexibility to accommodate a broad spectrum of research interests and goals. Using Schramm's communication model as its guiding logic, this framework unifies and extends Mangen and van der Weel's integrative framework for reading research (2016) to produce a further iteration of the framework that can be engaged at all stages of the research process, encouraging replicable and – most importantly – usable research findings for all interested stakeholders. This transdisciplinary approach aims to overcome academic silos and support more compatible, transferable research outcomes for both qualitative and quantitative projects.
The paper analyses empirical research results comparing the impact of the medium (traditional, paper-based vs. screen-based) on the reading process and text comprehension. It focuses on two analytical approaches—the first looks at the construction of cognitive maps of texts and the other the material aspects of the medium – which enable readers to orientate themselves and to explore and interpret the text more comprehensively. The paper discusses differences in how readers approach textual meaning according to experience of using digital technologies, the text, and reader experience and abilities. It concludes by arguing that strengthening these individual experiences and abilities is key to effective inference of textual meaning.
The factors that predetermine and condition reading practices in the digital environment are one of the hottest and most productive research objects. This article studies the factors and contexts that produce rejection of or detachment from the adoption of digital compared with printed texts in the educational environment. For this, a systematic review of the literature was carried out through a critical analysis of the most relevant works addressing this issue from 2005 to the present day. By applying the methodology proposed by Petticrew and Roberts, a sample (n = 28) synthesizing the most relevant findings published to date in relation to the object of study was selected. The results obtained enable us to identify a series of key factors that predetermine the rejection of digital reading that can be ascribed to three essential categories (esthetic, physiological and cognitive, and pragmatic) and nine subcategories (sensory, emotional, complexity of the text, comprehension and retention, physiological aspects, ergonomics, frailty and dependency, accessibility, and interoperability). The research concludes that, although convergence and progressive assimilation in the adoption of digital texts in the educational environment can be observed, there are certain factors that condition the level of acceptance of digital compared with printed reading, and they are perceived as conditioning factors that may hinder the teaching–learning process. Resumen Los factores que predeterminan y condicionan las prácticas lectoras en el entorno digital son uno de los objetos de investigación más candentes y productivos. En este artículo se estudian los factores y contextos que producen rechazo o desapego a la adopción de textos digitales frente a los impresos en el entorno educativo. Para ello se realiza una revisión sistemática de la bibliografía mediante el análisis crítico de los trabajos más relevantes que abordan esta cuestión desde 2005 hasta nuestros días. Mediante la aplicación de la metodología propuesta por Petticrew y Roberts se seleccionó una muestra (n=28) que sintetiza los hallazgos más relevantes publicados hasta la fecha en relación con el objeto de estudio. Los resultados obtenidos permiten identificar una serie de factores clave que predeterminan el rechazo a la lectura digital que pueden ser adscritos a 3 categorías esenciales (estética; fisiológica y cognitiva; y pragmática) y 9 subcategorías (sensorial; emocional; complejidad del texto; comprensión y retención; aspectos fisiológicos; ergonómica; fragilidad y dependencia; accesibilidad; e interoperabilidad). La investigación concluye que, aunque puede constatarse una convergencia y asimilación progresiva en la adopción del texto digital en el entorno educativo, existen ciertos factores que condicionan el nivel de aceptación de la lectura digital frente a la lectura impresa, y se perciben como condicionantes susceptibles de dificultar el proceso de enseñanza-aprendizaje.
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The phenomenology of reader absorption was investigated using quantitative and qualitative measures. The 12 male and 12 female participants ranged in age between 19 and 53. There were two parts to the study that were counterbalanced across participants. In one part, they read two excerpted literary passages contrasting emotional and descriptive styles of writing and rated them on an 11-item questionnaire. In another part, they were interviewed regarding the general experience of being absorbed in a book and about a specific absorbing text of their choice. Phenomenological analysis of interview data revealed experiential properties (corporeality, sensory perceptions, spatiality, temporality, and agency) and underlying processes (e.g., reader's perspective, attention, familiarity with situation) that shaped the reading activity. Factor analyses of the verbal rating scales and of the frequency tables for properties and processes both contrasted empathetic and sympathetic reading modes. These were also revealed in close (i.e., spontaneous and experiential) and far (i.e., purposeful and inferential) reader orientations which appear to have reflected individual differences in reading styles. The pedagogical implications of the findings are also discussed.
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Electronic books (e-book) are an interesting option compared to classic paper books. Most e-reading devices of the first generation were based on e-ink technology. With the appearance of the Apple iPad on the market, TFT-LCDs became important in the field of e-reading. Both technologies have advantages and disadvantages but the question remains whether one or the other technology is better for reading. In the present study we analyzed and compared reading behavior when reading on e-inkreader (e-ink displays) and on tablets (TFT-LCDs) as measured by eye-tracking. The results suggest that the reading behavior on tablets is indeed very similar to the reading behavior on e-ink-reader. Participants showed no difference in fixation duration. Significant differences in reading speed and in the proportion of regressive saccades suggest that tablets, under special artificial light conditions, may even provide better legibility.
We provide a review of the literature concerning aesthetic engagement (especially with literature and film) during times of distress. The objective is to offer a conceptual framework for this fledging research area and to provide a context for several manuscripts on this topic included in a Special Issue of Scientific Study of Literature (Volume 3, Issue 2). Particular attention is given to processes that arguably are distinctively aesthetic, including (1) the role of prosodic/semantic structures in the generation of local aesthetic objects within a longer narrative; (2) the identification of an affective theme through reflective consideration of a series of separate — but resonant — local aesthetic objects; and (3) the consequent emergence of poignantly bivalent feelings tinged with loss. This framework invites reconsideration of the Aristotelian conception of catharsis (understood as clarification rather than purgation), as well as examination of how poignant aesthetic engagement invites revaluation of personal priorities during moments of vulnerability.
New debates have been increasing about how technology is rewiring the infrastructure of the brain, especially among today’s teenagers who have grown up with computers. One of these debates concerns deep reading, a concept that stresses the brain’s need to concentrate undistracted on one thing at a time in order to maximally process and synthesize new material. One side argues that a computer with its dynamic interactions and multitasking demands robs teenagers of the ability to deep read and, as a consequence, disables the brain from properly developing and maturing. Another side argues that the very act of multitasking and interacting with a computer’s dynamics enables the brain to grow and mature in better ways than before. This qualitative case study closely examined the reading and study habits of four gifted readers, academically among the most successful in school, for two weeks. Findings show that each student practiced Three Common Cores of Control when they studied immediately prior to a test or project. All four students (1) needed to study in isolation in a Most Restrictive Study Environment, (2) needed absolute quiet or music to study in an Artificial Environment, and (3) needed to eliminate or sharply curtail all interaction with technology in a Retro Environment. This study found that deep reading was a part of each student’s success, and the implications are that each student must employ the Three Common Cores of Control to be the most successful. More research is needed in the area of deep reading to determine if the Three Common Cores of Control are prevalent among a greater number of gifted readers. In addition, deep reading practices or lack thereof need to be examined further with students of average ability or those with special needs.
This book presents an account of the relationships among novel reading, empathy, and altruism. Though readers' and authors' empathy certainly contribute to the emotional resonance of fiction and its success in the marketplace, this book finds the case for altruistic consequences of novel reading inconclusive. It offers instead a detailed theory of narrative empathy, with proposals about its deployment by novelists and its results in readers. The book engages with neuroscience and contemporary psychological research on empathy, bringing affect to the center of cognitive literary studies' scrutiny of narrative fiction. Drawing on narrative theory, literary history, philosophy, and contemporary scholarship in discourse processing, the book brings together resources and challenges for the literary study of empathy and the psychological study of fiction reading. Empathy robustly enters into affective responses to fiction, but its proper role in shaping the behavior of emotional readers has been debated for three centuries. The book surveys these debates and offers a series of hypotheses about literary empathy, including narrative techniques inviting empathetic response. It argues that above all readers' perception of a text's fictiveness increases the likelihood of readers' empathy, by releasing readers from their guarded responses to the demands of real others. The book confirms the centrality of narrative empathy as a strategy, as well as a subject, of contemporary novelists. Despite the disrepute of putative human universals, novelists from around the world endorse the notion of shared human emotions when they overtly call upon their readers' empathy. Consequently, the book suggests, if narrative empathy is to be better understood, women's reading and popular fiction must be accorded the respect of experimental inquiry.
This paper outlines the findings of a study investigating the extent and nature of use of digital technologies by undergraduate students in Social Work and Engineering, in two British universities. The study involved a questionnaire survey of students (n=160) followed by in-depth interviews with students (n=8) and lecturers and support staff (n=8) in both institutions. Firstly, the findings suggest that students use a limited range of technologies for both learning and socialisation. For learning, mainly established ICTs are used- institutional VLE, Google and Wikipedia and mobile phones. Students make limited, recreational use of social technologies such as media sharing tools and social networking sites. Secondly, the findings point to a low level of use of and familiarity with collaborative knowledge creation tools, virtual worlds, personal web publishing, and other emergent social technologies. Thirdly, the study did not find evidence to support the claims regarding students adopting radically different patterns of knowledge creation and sharing suggested by some previous studies. The study shows that students ’ attitudes to learning appear to be influenced by the approaches adopted by their lecturers. Far from demanding lecturers change their practice, students appear to conform to fairly traditional pedagogies, albeit with minor uses of technology tools that deliver content. Despite both groups clearly using a rather limited range of technologies for learning, the results point to some
The purpose of the study was to examine differences in reading performance when an electronic test format with a scrolling text mode on a LCD monitor and a traditional paper test format were used to present reading tests to teenagers who belong to Generation Z. In this study, participants were 108 high school students who each read two different reading passages, one from paper and the other from an LCD monitor. The results show that teenagers’ reading performance is affected by a presentation medium. Teenagers scored significantly higher on the paper reading comprehension tests than on the electronic ones, with average scores of 76 and 61 respectively. In addition, teenagers took much longer time to read passages and answer questions on the electronic tests than the paper tests. The paper tests only took teenagers an average of 10 minutes, but the electronic tests took an average of 16 minutes to complete. Several other variables such as gender and presentation medium preference were also tested against the variables of reading performance. These findings have strong implications for educators and educational administrators.