Is Digital Literacy Changing the Way We Think?

By Nicole J. Conrad

In this commentary, I respond to the opinion voiced by Kolinsky and Morais (2018) that current scholars underestimate the contribution of literacy to cognition by exploring how the nature of reading is shifting with the emergence of digital literacy. By presenting findings from contemporary researchers, I examine how reading comprehension processes are changing with the increased use of digital media, and how these changes may alter our cognitive processes and how we think. The increased use of digital media as reading tools may diminish many of the cognitive processes necessary for reading comprehension and learning in general. At the same time, the development of proficient digital literacy may open the door for new ways of thinking and processing information, enhancing the cognitive skills necessary to be successful in today’s knowledge based society. I conclude that as literacy evolves, so too will cognition, and note that many reading researchers are well aware of their literate glasses.

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