Comparing comprehension outcomes in print and digital reading is an active area of research but little is known about the reading processes that these media entail. This study involved an eye-tracking experiment with 50 undergraduate students to investigate the differences in reading processes in print and digital media. The participants were randomly assigned to read the same six-page popular science article that included several diagrams either in print or on a tablet computer and then answer reading comprehension questions. The results showed that comprehension was better when reading in print. Eye-movement data indicated that the print and digital groups spent about the same amount of time processing the article, texts, diagrams, and diagram statements, but the time was not divided evenly between the first pass and the rereading stages. The digital group spent more time reading the article at the first-pass reading stage and seldom reread it. In contrast, the print group first skimmed the article and then reread the important parts, exhibiting both longer total fixation durations in the rereading stage and a higher number of rereading instances across pages. In sum, the findings indicate that reading in print versus digital media employs different cognitive strategies with those reading in print showing more selective and intentional reading behavior.
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