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Elderly people 'read iPads faster than books'

Elderly people 'read iPads faster than books'

Elderly people read three times faster when using an iPad than a traditional book.

London: It may come as a surprise to many, but elderly people read three times faster when using an iPad than a traditional book, a new study has found. Researchers in Germany have found that people of different ages could read just as well from iPads as they do from traditional books - in fact, old people read even faster using the iPad as it made reading easier than the "real" book.

The iPad's screen was found to help them process the information on the page, even though the tablet's LED screen has been criticised for hurting readers' eyes if used over a long period of time, the Daily Mail reported. The researchers from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz disputed claims that traditional books were easiest on eyes. Prof Stephan Fussel, who led the team, said: "E-books and e-readers are playing an increasingly important role on the worldwide book market. However readers can be particularly sceptical when it comes to e-books and e-reading devices. "The objective of the study was to investigate whether there are reasons for this scepticism. This study provides us with a scientific basis for dispelling the misconception that reading from a screen has negative effects."

Volunteers who took part in the study were asked to read different texts of varying difficulty levels on a Kindle, iPad and traditional paper book. Reading behaviour was measured by tracking their eye movements, and monitoring levels of electro-physical brain activity. Prof Matthias Schlesewsky, a team member, added: "Almost all of the participants stated that they liked reading a printed book best. This was the dominant subjective response, but it does not match the data obtained from the study. "In fact, tablet PCs actually provide an advantage over e-ink readers and the printed page that is not consciously perceivable - the information is processed more easily when a tablet PC is employed.

"We have thus demonstrated that the subjective preference for the printed book is not an indicator of how fast and how well the information is processed."

first published:October 24, 2011, 14:36 IST