The science behind why people still love paper

Uncategorized | October 05, 2017


Thanks to technology, we can access information using purely digital methods. We can socialise through apps on our phones, read books on an e-reader and catch up on the latest news using a tablet. The portability and speed of these devices unite to provide us with instant information that is easily accessed from anywhere, depending on the Wi-Fi.

With mobile devices making it so simple to access information, why do many people still prefer picking up a hard copy of a book, grabbing a newspaper for their commute or looking at a brochure? It’s because of the connection that printed material creates.

Emotional connections are linked to memories and the more clearly we remember something, the stronger the connection. We use our senses to aid our memories, the more senses activated when experiencing something, the clearer the memory becomes.

You might remember an event because you recall the smell of a certain food or drink; you may remember a meeting based on the handshake you received when you walked into the room.

People love paper because we can use more of our senses to experience it, we can touch something tangible; feel the quality of the paper, hear the flick of the pages, and the smell of freshly printed paper, ink or the leather that binds an older book.

Many forms of digital media rely solely on targeting one sense, sight. However, the best uses of media combine sight with sound and touch by using video and print in an effort to engage more of the senses and create a lasting impression with their target audiences.

Interestingly, Temple University in Philadelphia, US, carried out a study using fMRI scans to determine the differences in the impact that digital and print have on the human brain. Paper was found to activate the part of the brain most associated with desire and valuation and found that review time was greater with print compared to digital.

This doesn’t mean that everyone is going to suddenly drop their mobile devices in unison and switch back to paper-based content. What it does mean is that we can’t ignore the emotional impact that paper has on us. People love paper, it engages more of our senses, especially when combined with the functionality of digital methods, by incorporating print based tactics into marketing strategies, we can reach wider audiences and connect with them on different levels.

Mail and Print specialise in high-quality printed materials and understand the impact that paper can have on a recipient. Get in touch with us on 01747 820960 or email to learn more about our wide range of printing options and how to engage with your audiences through the power of print.

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