[ELI5] Why is reading better than watching a movie/playing a videogame etc…?


I get that there are benefits to reading and all but what I find weird is the idea that no matter what you are reading, as long as you are reading, is a better use of your time than documentary on the same subject or playing a game?
Why? What does reading have that makes it much better? And is it really better no matter the content?

As someone who used to read a lot, many books I’ve read have been erased from my brain the same way I have with movies, and I don’t really see a difference

In: 7

I don’t necessarily believe reading books is better, I read subtitles, comics, and text from sites like reddit all the time. If I remember correctly the idea was that reading is a good way to stimulate the mind and expose oneself to new vocabulary but I believe this is an outdated argument considering how television is less popular and the internet is full of text to read.

I do however think reading does provide a more detailed world by just the sheer volume of words, reading and digesting that content does take patience, memory and imagination.

Last bit, I think it’s an argument created by those who profit off of books, book stores, writers, My English professor, all benefit from books being seen as relevant and intelligent. but thats more of a conspiracy.

Just theorizing. A book requires more investment from you to mentally create the images and characters and is more information dense than a movie. (Think of movies that have to leave out chunks of a book to make it to the screen.)

Books may build your capacity for focusing. You can do other things when a kovie is running but, to understand a book at the same level as a movie, you cant do as many things (if any) while reading.

You are an observer of movies, you are a participant in books.

If you encounter a new word when reading you can learn meaning and use from context which gives you a richer understanding of the word than reading just a definition (but you can add the definition too). If you hear a word in a movie you may be unable to look it up for futher info if you cant figure out the spelling.

You can reread a puzzling section and compare sections of a book easier than you can a video. As soon as info gets more complex and detailed movies start having trouble.

Images are usually grasped as wholes..all at once. Books are read sequentially. These 2 types of thinking give you different skills. Grasping wholes is fine for some tasks but sequential thinking is better for logic and reasoning. Reading gives you more practice in detailed sequences.

Once you need to go deeper into a topic to do multi layered or abstract problem solving a video just doesnt cut it. Im talking about thinking that involves evaluating data sources, comparing tables and sources, critical evaluation etc. Videos (holistic) are better suited for making emotional arguments or stories rather than logical ones. This is why politicians put out lots of tv ads but very few books. They want to win by emotion.

I think of it in terms of active vs passive. My brain is usually more active when reading a book than when watching television. I’m still processing things, but I feel that reading causes me to use my brain a bit more.

For me personally, reading books is no better for memory than, say, watching a movie or playing a video game. Imo, the real advantage of reading is that you get to imagine the universe in your own way.

A movie or any other graphical medium makes it so that the situation is already painted out like the writer thought about it. J.K Rowling once said [in this interview](http://www.accio-quote.org/articles/2000/1000-npr-adler.htm), that the true joy of books was that everybody brings their own imagination to the table.

I think that books give a lot more freedom in guessing between the lines, and that’s probably it’s so great. Yeah, a movie may be shorter, or a video game might be more fun, but books will always hold a special place in my heart.

To each their own. It’s the 21 century baby. You can get same simulation from watching a video, listen to audio etc etc as reading a book.