Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

No evidence for decline in reading

10.07.2007
A three-year investigation by a team at The University of Manchester has shown that contrary to popular expectation, Brits spent more time reading in recent times than they did in the 1970s.

The findings contrast with the United States where book reading declined markedly during a similar period.

However, the number of Brits reading newspapers and magazines declined – though those people who read newspapers and magazines devoted more time to it.

The unexpected findings were uncovered by a team of sociologists at the School of Social Sciences who compared the records of thousands of people between 1975 and 2000 – the latest figures available.

They looked at data from France, Holland, Norway, the UK and the USA amid rising concerns about the state of British literacy.

Among the results are:

- In 2000, Brits read on average for five more minutes each day than they did in 1975.

- In 1998 Americans read on average for nine minutes less each day than they did in 1975.

- The increase in the UK was greater for women than it was for men.

- Of those Brits that read, a greater number read for one hour or more than did in 1975.

The findings contrast strongly with fears about the nation’s declining love of books marked by Victoria Beckham’s 2005 admission that she has ‘never read a book in her life’.

Research commissioned by the National Reading Campaign in 2001, found a quarter of adults had not read a book in the previous 12 months also fuelling worries.

Dr Dale Southerton, from the School of Social Sciences was on the research team.

He said: “People commonly perceive that we read less in the UK than we did in the past.

“But in fact, according to the figures - which are the latest ones available - the opposite is true and that is rather surprising, especially given that it is book, rather than newspaper and magazine, reading that has increased.

“But one common assumption which does hold is that we like books more than our counterparts in USA where there has been a massive decline.

”We examined 10-15,000 people in each country and research on this scale has not been done before so it’s pretty significant.”

He added: “I think the misconceptions can be explained by the changes in how we as a society organise time.

“One of the key challenges in our daily lives is coordinating our schedules with other people – and the difficulty of being in the right place at the right time leads to a feeling of being harried.

“However, in trying to meet this challenge we find plenty of ‘gaps’ during the day – such as waiting for a train, a partner, or one’s children – and reading is an activity entirely suited to filling those gaps.

“We’re more tied to our diaries and that can lead to the perception that we have less time to do things we enjoy like reading.

“But our study shows that in reality, the opposite is in fact true.”

Jon Keighren | alfa
Further information:
http://www.manchester.ac.uk

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Amazingly flexible: Learning to read in your thirties profoundly transforms the brain
26.05.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Kognitions- und Neurowissenschaften

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Electrode materials from the microwave oven

19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

New material for digital memories of the future

19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

Physics boosts artificial intelligence methods

19.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>