While we may never go back to an all ink-on-paper world, neuroscience research indicates that print still retains a strong foothold among consumers.
Separate studies conducted by Temple University and Bangor University using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) have shown that physical marketing pieces generate higher levels of engagement, stimulation, and memory recall. In addition, paper advertising more successfully activates an area of the brain, the ventral striatum, that controls desire and valuation.
In the Forbes article “Paper Beats Digital In Many Ways, According To Neuroscience,” Roger Dooley states that “physical material involves more emotional processing, which is important for memory and brand associations,” and that print “produced more brain responses connected with internal feelings, suggesting greater ‘internalization’ of the ads.”
The findings appear to support preference for the printed word in long-form text as well — even among digital natives.
The Washington Post article “Why digital natives prefer reading in print. Yes, you read that right” explains the bias this way: “Readers tend to skim on screens, distraction is inevitable and comprehension suffers.” The same article goes on to describe “‘jaw-dropping’ results to the question of whether students were more likely to multitask in hard copy (1 percent) vs. reading on-screen (90 percent).”
The upshot? “Rather than an all-digital world, it appears that a multi-channel approach that leverages the unique benefits of paper with the convenience and accessibility of digital will perform best,” suggests Dooley.
We couldn’t agree more.