Reading is Better At Stimulating the Imagination Than TV, New Study Reveals

A common assumption these days is that too much screen time can metaphorically rot your brain, but is there are any veracity to this statement? It turns out that there might be some correlation between excessive use of screens and at least one aspect of cognition, namely that of imagination.

With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that research conducted at the University of York revealed that watching TV is far less stimulating to the imagination than reading a book. Such a discovery is pertinent because of the fact that this is the sort of thing that could potentially end up changing how parents keep their children occupied, since many prefer to keep them looking at screens which could potentially impede their cognitive development.

This study involved 200 participants who were provided with video clips and portions of written text. After they analyzed each piece of media, they were asked to imagine and contrast objects they were familiar with, but which weren’t included in the media in question. Participants that watched videos had slower response times, and they struggled to compare the objects as imaginatively as those that had just read through text.

Furthermore, participants that watched videos had less pronounced mental imagery, and the speed of the video didn’t appear to change the results with all things having been considered and taken into account. One major issue with videos is that they don’t challenge the brain to come up with imagery all on its own. Instead, the video is already providing these images, which makes the brain less capable of developing them itself than might have been the case otherwise.

Extended watching sessions might result in a decrease in mental acuity, especially when the images are being consumed passively. The notion that watching TV is somehow less intelligent than reading has been contested, but in spite of the fact that this is the case, this research seems to suggest that there might be something to the idea. It will be interesting to see if more findings come out that either confirm or refute this hypothesis, since additional evidence will be required in order for researchers to be able to definitely conclude one way or the other.

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