Short Circuit Reading

April 9, 2014 | 2

Do you ever find yourself skimming novels looking for exciting words and hyperlinks? You aren’t the only one mixing up the digital and print reading worlds. Neuroscientists believe we are developing new brain circuits for skimming online information that are rewiring how we’ve approached reading for centuries. Pair with: Our essay on how writing is also changing to fit our fragmented attention span.

is an associate editor for The Millions and an editor in Atlanta. She tweets at @temalone.


  1. After years of suspecting this to be true, I realized that I was neglecting my own anecdotal evidence. I’m online as much, if not more, than anyone else I know – tons of skimming, etc. Yet, when I sit down to read a book or article, nope, I’m all focus and probably couldn’t skim even if I tried. I think they’re different skills entirely.

  2. I had trouble reading some of those classics before I spent a lot of time on the internet for my job, but I have no problem switching my brain to print reading at home. The brain is adaptable enough to do both, it just needs practice.

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