Reading With Sound: The Interplay of Text and Sound in E-Book Readers And Its Effect on Retention

Liel Leibovitz

New York UniversityVisiting Assistant Professor of Communications
New York University

23 August 2011

Executive Summary

The study looks at the correlation between text and sound in ebook readers, using the Booktrack enhanced platform, and seeks to assert what, if any, are the cognitive advantages to reading accompanied by audio elements.

For this study, 41 adults were asked to interact with the Booktrack platform, and were submitted to in-depth ethnographic interviews as they did. Following, all subjects were asked to read a text both with and without sound enhancement and then asked to fill questionnaires testing their retention of details from the text.

The following are the study’s key findings:

In conclusion, the study confirmed the existing research on the subject of the correlation between text and sound, finding significant cognitive advantages to sound-enhanced reading experiences.“This study clearly shows the distinct cognitive advantages of sound-enhanced electronic reading platforms,” said Liel Leibovitz, who conducted the study. “Subjects using the Booktrack software performed categorically better on information retention tests, and attested to increased focus and greater clarity. This is an exciting new technology that deserves further attention." 

Liel Leibovitz is a visiting assistant professor at New York University. He received his Ph.D. in communications from Columbia University in 2007, and researches video games, new media, and human-machine interaction. He is the author or co-author of four books of non-fiction.


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