People Less Attentive Reading News Content on Small Screens
A new research done by
University of Michigan and Texas A&M University revealed that those reading
news on small screen are less attentive and engaged with the content. The finding was made after monitoring the heart rate variability which decreased when they read on small
screen and changes in sweat were muted.
The researchers Stuart Sorka and Johanna Dunaway pointed out that cell phone may have mobilizing and demobilizing effects. Mobile technology enables access to news for a large number of people but news consumption of on mobile screens may be less informative and mobilizing.
Participants watched a news program on a computer monitor, using a randomized sample of seven news stories, both international and domestic. Stories varied widely in subject matter, from a fire in Peru to a Labor Day parade to an American man making bagpipes. The size of the video varied from roughly 13 inches wide (large) to just 5 inches wide (small). Heart rate and skin conductance was measured during viewing. Analyses find that participants had reduced reactions and attentiveness to the smaller screen. The findings appear in Information, Communication & Society.
The implications of the study may have some bearing on the use of tablets and mobile apps for educational purposes too. Do children who use educational content on tablets be less attentive and engaged than when they see it on a White Board or large screen?