"There has been a great deal of research on how digital platforms might be affecting attention, distractibility and mindfulness, and these studies build on this work, by focusing on a relatively understudied construct," said Geoff Kaufman, assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University and the study leader. (He was a postdoctoral researcher in psychology at Tiltfactor at the time of the study.)
Researchers looked at whether people focused on concrete details to interpret information or used a more abstract mindset. To do this, the researchers conducted four studies that comprised more than 300 adults between age 20 to 24.
The participants were given a chance to read the same content in either print, on a laptop or personal computer, before taking a pop-quiz on the material.
What they found is print users scored higher on inference questions than their digital counterparts, while digital users scored higher on concrete questions than their print counterparts.