Jonah Lehrer: Do e-readers kindle understanding?

Jonah Lehrer really wants to like the Kindle, Nook and Sony Reader. He really does. But today at the Frontal Cortex, his blog at Wired:

That said, I do have a nagging problem with the merger of screens and sentences. My problem is that consumer technology moves in a single direction: It’s constantly making it easier for us to perceive the content. This is why your TV is so high-def, and your computer monitor is so bright and clear. For the most part, this technological progress is all to the good. (I still can’t believe that people watched golf before there were HD screens. Was the ball even visible? For me, the pleasure of televised golf is all about the lush clarity of grass.) Nevertheless, I worry that this same impulse – making content easier and easier to see – could actually backfire with books. We will trade away understanding for perception. The words will shimmer on the screen, but the sentences will be quickly forgotten.

Lehrer was a 2008 IdeaFestival presenter and is the author of "Proust was a Neuroscientist" and "How We Decide."

The image above was taken by the IdeaFestival's favorite photojournalist, Geoff Oliver Bugbee. See more of Geoff's work on his web site

Wayne