Screen reading and the creation of new cognitive ecologies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


It has been widely argued that digital technologies are transforming the nature of reading, and with it, our brains and a wide range of our cognitive capabilities. In this article, we begin by discussing the new analytical category of deep-reading and whether it is really on the decline. We analyse deep reading and its grounding in brain reorganization, based upon Michael Anderson’s Massive Redeployment hypothesis and Dehaene’s Neuronal Recycling which both help us to theorize how the capacities of brains are transformed by acquisition of new skills. We examine some of the difficulties in comparing reading using technologies such as the web-browser, the tablet and E-Reader, with reading using the pre-existing print culture. While learning to read undoubtedly changes the brain, we examine what evidence there is for this being tightly tied to particular material substrates and find this lacking. Instead we attempt to situate cognitive changes around the new reading within the context of the specific new cognitive ecologies incorporating both screen and page. This involves a reconsideration of the role of material culture in the cognitive abilities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)705-720
Number of pages16
JournalAI and Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Cognitive artifacts
  • Cognitive ecology
  • Cognitive values
  • Cultural/technological systems
  • Deep reading
  • Encultured brains
  • Massive redeployment
  • Neural recycling


Dive into the research topics of 'Screen reading and the creation of new cognitive ecologies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this