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Faith L. Florer, Veronique Salvano-Pardieu, Jemma A. Lampkin; Memory for words from fictional text read on computer screens and paper, in four polarities. Journal of Vision 2005;5(8):803. doi: 10.1167/5.8.803.
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Does our ability to remember text that we read on a computer differ from our ability to remember text on paper? We examined memory for text read on paper vs. text read on a computer screen. A passage of 380 words of text was read silently for three minutes (black text on white background or white text on black background). Then participants worked on a distractor task (a set of multiplication problems) for four minutes. Following the distractor task, subjects participated in a 20 word memory test (explicit or implicit) for three minutes (black text on white background or white text on black background). We failed to replicate last year's finding (which used a one-minute distractor task) that subjects recall more words when the background for text of passages and word stems are white rather than black. We found no difference between the four polarity conditions, F (3, 105) = 0.52, p > .05. We found that subjects remembered fewer words on computer than on paper, 21vs. 27 percent correct, F (1, 35) = 6.42, p F (3, 105) = 0.31, p > .05. For four polarities and two memory tests, subjects remembered fewer words on computer than paper. We discuss the implications of these findings in context of roles that familiarity of media, distractor time, and polarity have on implicit and explicit memory.
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