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reading versus books on tape

Although I had never thought about it until this thread appeared on the list, in retrospect it's clear that my memory for material read is more accurate than for material seen or heard. I have many occasions to search for past material for present projects: material in books, audiotapes (or the radio) and seen on television or less frequently on videotapes. The audio/visual material may be narrative or interviews. I have often been disappointed to discover that I had interjected an idea or interpretation into my memory of the heard or seen material whereas I tend to find that material that I have read is as I remember it. My only explanation is that reading is much more active and involves more work than watching or hearing. Moreover, reading a sentence twice, or reading it,thinking about it, challenging it, disbelieving it -- or whatever -- and then reading it again is a very active process. If you feel that you have "won" an oral/aural argument, the other side is gone, vanquished in your mind and the content irretrievable unless recorded. Even if you feel you have "won" a written argument, the other side is there, staring you in the face -- or in the fingertips, as in Tony Stockman's case. Additionally, there are no paralinguistic distractions when processing written material.

Just a thought.

Denis M. Donovan, M.D., M.Ed., F.A.P.S.
Medical Director, 1983 - 2006
The Children's Center for Developmental Psychiatry
St. Petersburg, Florida

Mail:	P.O Box 47576
	St. Petersburg, FL 33743-7576
Phone:	727-641-8905
Email:	dmdonvan@xxxxxxxxxxxxx