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“This Is Your Brain On Paper” Says Sappi’s Daniel Dejan… The ACT 9 Experience Recapped. Linda Ruth Reporting… Part 4

May 1, 2019

Is content just content? Daniel Dejan, Print Creative Manager for North American Sappi Paper, asked the question at Mr. Magazine’s ACT 9. If you take the same content and duplicate it across platforms, is it the same content, is it the same experience? Has technology impacted the user experience, and if so how? Sappi decided to do a deep dive research to answer these questions.

Brain activity is very different when reading on paper compared to reading on a device. The device adds nothing to the reading experience. Reading on paper stimulates visual memory. It leads to mapping of information in our brain for later retrieval. Mapping can’t be done well with the moving stream of digital. Ink on paper is tactile, stimulating four senses.

The endowment effect means that you want something more if you can touch and hold it. Touch is an important part of our decision making. Print can trigger ownership imagery. Well-crafted advertising in print creates connection with consumer, leads to purchases. Even online purchases, for example in catalog industry, are begun at the print level—in fact over 75% of online purchases, in some cases, are begun at the print level.

When you read ink on paper, you slow down. Your heart rate and blood pressure slow. You have a higher valuation of the content, the authorship, better understanding, better retention, and you have a higher valuation of the brand. Reading the same content on a digital device switches our brain to skim mode. Our brains have new, evolved digital synaptic cortexes, and the moment we open a device we switch to that mode, seeking key words, highlighted copy, links. This is called bi-lateral literacy. When we read content digitally, we don’t get the full depth of the content.

The next level of print offers opportunities to enhance the tactile nature of the medium and offers new levels of connection with the consumer. Electroluminescent Ink creates a mesmerizing cascading effect. Electroconductive Ink can connect paper to your phone.

The US ranks 24th in the world in reading. This problem might be connected to our increasing digital dependency. The child who is distracted will not learn as deeply. How we read is as important as what we read. Can we provide a foundation for the child so the formation of deep reading is part of our transition to digital? It is essential that we do so.

Because, we find, content is not just content. How we encounter that content is critical, and print is essential to our continued depth of experience and depth of learning.

To watch Daniel Dejan’s entire presentation click on the video below:

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