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Public Defence: Natalia Latini

Master Natalia Latini at the Department of Education will defend the dissertation "Reading in Limbo: Caught in Transition between Paper and Digital Texts." for the degree of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD).

Photo of Natalia Latini.

Natalia Latini (photo: S. Colvin/ UiO).

Trial lecture

See trial lecture.

Adjudication committee

  • 1st Opponent Professor Emeritus Paul van den Broek, Leiden University, The Netherlands

  • 2nd Opponent Associate Professor Rakefet Ackerman, Israel Institute of Technology, Israel

  • Committee Chair Professor Veslemøy Rydland, Department of Education, University of Oslo

Chair of Defence

Professor Line Wittek, Department of Education, University of Oslo



Does the choice of reading medium matter for reading comprehension? The three experimental studies in this thesis investigated potential differences in processing and comprehension when university-level students read identical printed versus digital texts.

The first and second studies of this thesis found indirect advantages of reading print. Specifically, results of Study I suggested that readers of digital texts spent more time reading the texts when asked to imagine they were reading for an exam than when asked to read for pleasure, while readers of print wrote longer responses after reading for an exam than for pleasure. In turn, the increased text production when reading for an exam demonstrated by participants reading print increased their integrated understanding. A similar mediational pattern was not found for participants reading digitally, indicating that print reading facilitated an adaptation to the purpose of reading that was beneficial for comprehension.

In Study II, results based on measures of eye movements showed that participants reading print displayed an increased effort to integrate textual and pictorial information while reading, compared to participants reading digitally. In turn, this increase in integrative processing improved readers’ comprehension performance. As such, there was evidence of participants reading print processing the document more thoroughly and thereby achieving better comprehension than did those reading digitally.

In Study III, verbal protocol analysis showed that there were no differences in text processing across mediums. Moreover, there were no differences in text comprehension between participants reading the text in print or digitally. As such, the study found the two reading mediums to be equivalent.

In sum, the thesis found mixed results with regard to the effects of reading medium on text processing and comprehension. The results suggested that reading digitally is not universally detrimental for adult readers, but that some indirect advantages of print may make it more appropriate for certain types of reading situations.

Published Nov. 24, 2022 2:37 PM - Last modified Nov. 24, 2022 2:59 PM