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【卫报】不深度阅读,人就会变蠢

【卫报】不深度阅读,人就会变蠢


在快节奏的今天,一切都要追求高效,于是纸质材料被抛弃,在屏幕上略读成为了主流。神经科学告诉我们,脑回路会根据环境的改变而改变,因此当我们习惯于快速而低级的略读,深度阅读的能力就会退化,其中包括批判性思考与共情能力,而这对任何阶段的学习都是至关重要的。现在还不算晚,将我们掌握的科技应用到巩固深度阅读上,前途依然光明。


不深度阅读,人就会变蠢

【卫报】不深度阅读,人就会变蠢

作者:Maryanne Wolf

译者:郭嘉宁

校对:刘   蕊

策划:唐   萧


Skim reading is the new normal. The effect on society is profound

当略读成为新常态


本文选自 The Guardian| 取经号原创翻译

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Look around on your next plane trip. The iPad is the new pacifier for babies and toddlers. Younger school-aged children read stories on smartphones; older boys don’t read at all, but hunch over video games. Parents and other passengers read on Kindles or skim a flotilla of email and news feeds. Unbeknownst to most of us, an invisible, game-changing transformation links everyone in this picture: the neuronal circuit that underlies the brain’s ability to read is subtly, rapidly changing – a change with implications for everyone from the pre-reading toddler to the expert adult.

在你下次坐飞机旅行时试着环顾下四周。iPad成为了婴儿与蹒跚学步的孩子的新型奶嘴。年龄还小的学龄儿童在智能手机上阅读故事,年长些的男孩子们则完全不阅读了,而是在电子游戏前。父母与其他乘客在Kindle上读书,或是略读着大量邮件和新闻。在我们大多数人还没有意识到的情况下,一场无形又颠覆性的变革把所有人都联系到了一起。构成大脑阅读能力的神经回路正在细微而快速地变化,无论是预学孩童还是阅读专家,都受到了影响。

pacifier n. /’pæsɪfaɪə/ a rubber object that you give a baby to suck so that it does not cry〔哄婴孩用的〕橡皮奶嘴

hunch v. /hʌntʃ/  to bend down and forwards so that your back forms a curve 弓身

flotilla n. /flə’tɪlə/ a group of small ships小船队;此处指an indefinite large number

underliev. /ʌndə’laɪ/ to be the cause of something, or be the basic thing from which something develops 作为…的原因;构成…的基础


As work in neurosciences indicates, the acquisition of literacy necessitated a new circuit in our species’ brain more than 6,000 years ago. That circuit evolved from a very simple mechanism for decoding basic information, like the number of goats in one’s herd, to the present, highly elaborated reading brain. My research depicts how the present reading brain enables the development of some of our most important intellectual and affective processes: internalized knowledge, analogical reasoning, and inference; perspective-taking and empathy; critical analysis and the generation of insight. Research surfacing in many parts of the world now cautions that each of these essential “deep reading” processes may be under threat as we move into digital-based modes of reading.

正如神经科学研究所显示,在六千多年前,读写能力的习得使得人类大脑中形成了一个新的回路。这个回路最初很简单,用来解读基本信息,比如一个人的畜群中有多少只山羊,到现在进化为高度复杂的可以阅读的大脑。我的研究描绘了现在的可阅读大脑是如何促成了一些最重要的智力与情感过程的发展,包括知识内化,类比推理与推断;换位思考与共情;批判性分析与洞察力的产生。这一研究涉及到了全球不同地区,它的结果警示我们,随着人类转入数字化模式阅读,以上每一个重要的“深度阅读”过程都可能面临威胁。

caution  /’kɔːʃ(ə)n/ v. to warn someone that something might be dangerous, difficult etc 警告,告诫


This is not a simple, binary issue of print vs digital reading and technological innovation. As MIT scholar Sherry Turkle has written, we do not err as a society when we innovate, but when we ignore what we disrupt or diminish while innovating. In this hinge moment between print and digital cultures, society needs to confront what is diminishing in the expert reading circuit, what our children and older students are not developing, and what we can do about it.

这不是一个关于纸质阅读与数字阅读、科技创新哪个更好的简单二元问题。就像麻省理工学院学者雪利·特克尔(Sherry Turkle)写到的,当我们做出创新时,作为一个社会我们没有错,但当我们忽视创新过程中扰乱与削弱了什么时,我们就错了。在这个印刷文化与数字文化的转折点,社会需要正视以下问题,在我们专门负责阅读的回路中什么正在减少,在我们的孩子及年长的学生中有什么能力没有发展起来,以及我们能对此做些什么。

diminish v. /dɪˈmɪnɪʃ/ When something diminishes, or when something diminishes it, it becomes reduced in size, importance, or intensity. 使减少; 变少 

hinge n. /hɪn(d)ʒ/ a piece of metal fastened to a door, lid etc that allows it to swing open and shut〔门、盖子等上的〕铰链,合叶; a determining factor : turning point 转折点


We know from research that the reading circuit is not given to human beings through a genetic blueprint like vision or language; it needs an environment to develop. Further, it will adapt to that environment’s requirements – from different writing systems to the characteristics of whatever medium is used. If the dominant medium advantages processes that are fast, multi-task oriented and well-suited for large volumes of information, like the current digital medium, so will the reading circuit. As UCLA psychologist Patricia Greenfield writes, the result is that less attention and time will be allocated to slower, time-demanding deep reading processes, like inference, critical analysis and empathy, all of which are indispensable to learning at any age.

从研究中我们得知,人类的阅读回路不同于视力或者语言,它不是通过基因蓝图获得的。它需要环境来形成。而且,它会适应于环境的要求,不同的书写系统和所用媒介的特点都会对它产生影响。如果主导的媒介倾向于快速,多任务导向的阅读过程,且适合处理大量信息,就像如今的数字媒介一样,那大脑形成的阅读回路也会如此。加州大学洛杉矶分校的心理学家帕特里夏·格林菲尔德(Patricia Greenfield)写到,结果是,我们会花更少的精力与时间去进行慢速耗时的深度阅读,就像推断、批判性分析与共情,而这些对于任何年龄的学习都是必不可少的。


Increasing reports from educators and from researchers in psychology and the humanities bear this out. English literature scholar and teacher Mark Edmundson describes how many college students actively avoid the classic literature of the 19thand 20th centuries because they no longer have the patience to read longer, denser, more difficult texts. We should be less concerned with students’ “cognitive impatience,” however, than by what may underlie it: the potential inability of large numbers of students to read with a level of critical analysis sufficient to comprehend the complexity of thought and argument found in more demanding texts, whether in literature and science in college, or in wills, contracts and the deliberately confusing public referendum questions citizens encounter in the voting booth.

心理学与人文学科的教育者与研究者们不断发表报告证实这一点。英语文学学者与教师马克·爱德蒙森(Mark Edmundson)说到,有许多大学生主动避免阅读19世纪与20世纪的经典文学,因为他们不再有耐心去读篇幅更长,更难懂的文本。我们不必为学生在认知过程中的不耐烦太担心,但是我们应该担忧这一现象的内在原因,即大量的学生在阅读中可能无法运用足够的批判性分析。这会使他们难以理解更吃力的文本中出现的复杂的思想与论述,不论是在大学的文学与科学课上,或是在遗嘱,合同中及在投票处会遇到的故意混淆人的全民公投问题。

bear sb/sth v. if facts or information bear out a claim, story, opinion etc, they help to prove that it is true 为…作证,证实,支持〔某种说法、看法等〕


Multiple studies show that digital screen use may be causing a variety of troubling downstream effects on reading comprehension in older high school and college students. In Stavanger, Norway, psychologist Anne Mangen and her colleagues studied how high school students comprehend the same material in different mediums. Mangen’s group asked subjects questions about a short story whose plot had universal student appeal (a lust-filled, love story); half of the students read Jenny, Mon Amour on a Kindle, the other half in paperback. Results indicated that students who read on print were superior in their comprehension to screen-reading peers, particularly in their ability to sequence detail and reconstruct the plot in chronological order.

许多研究显示,数字化阅读可能正在对高中生与大学生的阅读理解产生一系列令人担忧的不利影响。挪威斯塔万格的心理学家安妮·曼根(Anne Mangen)与她的同事研究了高中生在不同媒介下是如何理解相同的材料的。曼根的团队向测试对象询问了一些关于一个短故事的问题,这个故事是一个充满欲望的爱情故事,对学生有普遍的吸引力。一半的学生是在Kindle上读的“珍妮,我的爱”,另一半学生则是在平装书上读的。结果显示,在纸质书上读的学生比在屏幕上读的学生在理解上表现得更好,尤其是在对细节排序,及按时间顺序重现情节的能力上更为突出。


Ziming Liu from San Jose State University has conducted a series of studies which indicate that the “new norm” in reading is skimming, with word-spotting and browsing through the text. Many readers now use an F or Z pattern when reading in which they sample the first line and then word-spot through the rest of the text. When the reading brain skims like this, it reduces time allocated to deep reading processes. In other words, we don’t have time to grasp complexity, to understand another’s feelings, to perceive beauty, and to create thoughts of the reader’s own.

圣荷西州立大学的刘子明(音译)开展的一系列研究表明,读书的“新常态”是略读,在词与词间跳跃并随意浏览文本。许多读者如今在阅读时采用F或Z的模式,即他们抽样读第一句话,在剩下的文章中再挑一些词浏览。当进行阅读的大脑像这样略读时,深度阅读的时间将有所减少。也就是说,我们没有时间去领会复杂的内容,去理解其他人的感受,去感知美,以及去形成读者自己的想法。


Karin Littau and Andrew Piper have noted another dimension: physicality. Piper, Littau and Anne Mangen’s group emphasize that the sense of touch in print reading adds an important redundancy to information – a kind of “geometry” to words, and a spatial “thereness” for text. As Piper notes, human beings need a knowledge of where they are in time and space that allows them to return to things and learn from re-examination – what he calls the “technology of recurrence”. The importance of recurrence for both young and older readers involves the ability to go back, to check and evaluate one’s understanding of a text. The question, then, is what happens to comprehension when our youth skim on a screen whose lack of spatial thereness discourages “looking back.”

卡琳·利陶(Karin Littau)和安德鲁·派珀(Andrew Piper)指出了阅读的另一个方面:物质性。派珀,利陶与安妮·曼根的团队强调道,纸质阅读的触感为信息增添了一个重要部分:字词的一种“几何结构”,及文本在空间上的“存在感”。就像派珀指出的,人类需要知道他们在时间与空间的位置,这让他们可以返回并在重新审视中有所得,派珀称此为“重现的技术”。重现之所以重要,部分在于我们能够返回、检查并评估自己对文本的理解,这对年轻与年长的读者而言都是一样的。那么问题来了,当我们的年轻人在屏幕上略读,其中缺失的空间上的存在感使他们无法“回顾”时,他们的理解会怎么样呢?


US media researchers Lisa Guernsey and Michael Levine, American University’s linguist Naomi Baron, and cognitive scientist Tami Katzir from Haifa University have examined the effects of different information mediums, particularly on the young. Katzir’s research has found that the negative effects of screen reading can appear as early as fourth and fifth grade – with implications not only for comprehension, but also on the growth of empathy.

美国媒体研究者丽莎·格恩西(Lisa Guernsey)和迈克尔·莱文(Michael Levine),美国大学的语言学家娜奥米·巴伦(Naomi Baron),及海法大学的认知科学家塔米·卡兹(Tami Katzir)调查了不同信息媒介产生的影响,尤其是对年轻人的影响。卡兹的研究发现在屏幕上阅读的消极影响早在四、五年级就出现了,这不但损害了人的理解能力,同时也对共情能力的发展不利。


The possibility that critical analysis, empathy and other deep reading processes could become the unintended “collateral damage” of our digital culture is not a simple binary issue about print vs digital reading. It is about how we all have begun to read on any medium and how that changes not only what we read, but also the purposes for why we read. Nor is it only about the young. The subtle atrophy of critical analysis and empathy affects us all. It affects our ability to navigate a constant bombardment of information. It incentivizes a retreat to the most familiar silos of unchecked information, which require and receive no analysis, leaving us susceptible to false information and demagoguery.

批判性分析,共情能力,及其他深度阅读过程可能成为我们数字文化所带来的意外“附加伤害”,这不是一个简单的纸质阅读与数字阅读对立的二元问题。它关乎于我们所有人是如何开始在任意媒介上阅读,这不只改变了我们阅读的内容,还改变了我们阅读的目的。这也不仅只关系到年轻人。批判性分析及共情能力的不易察觉的衰退影响着我们所有人。它影响了我们应对时常发生的信息轰炸的能力,鼓励我们退缩回最熟悉的未经核查的信息孤岛,其中不需要也接收不到任何分析,让我们易于被虚假信息与煽动行为影响。

collateral damage people who are hurt or killed, or property that is damaged accidentally in a war – used especially by the army, navy etc 附带性的破坏〔尤为军队等所用〕,波及无辜  

Atrophy /’ætrəfɪ/ n./v. if a part of the body atrophies or is atrophied, it becomes weak because of lack of use or lack of blood 萎缩

Navigate/’nævɪgeɪt/ v. to understand or deal with something complicated理解,应付〔困难复杂的情况〕

demagoguery/’dɛmə,gɔgəri/ n. You can refer to a method of political rule as demagogy or demagoguery if you disapprove of it because you think it involves appealing to people’s emotions rather than using reasonable arguments. 煽动的做法


There’s an old rule in neuroscience that does not alter with age: use it or lose it. It is a very hopeful principle when applied to critical thought in the reading brain because it implies choice. The story of the changing reading brain is hardly finished. We possess both the science and the technology to identify and redress the changes in how we read before they become entrenched. If we work to understand exactly what we will lose, alongside the extraordinary new capacities that the digital world has brought us, there is as much reason for excitement as caution.

在神经科学中,有一个不随年龄改变的古老规则:用进废退。当应用到阅读大脑内的批判性思考时,这是一条充满希望的原理,因为它暗示了选择的作用。阅读大脑发生的变化还没有结束。我们拥有科学与技术,来赶在阅读方式的变化根深蒂固前去发现并解决问题。如果我们努力去理解我们将要失去的究竟是什么,再加上数字世界带给我们的非凡新能力,那么我们有理由在谨慎的同时,抱有相同的期待。

entrenched /ɪn’tren(t)ʃt; en-/ a. strongly established and not likely to change — often used to show disapproval 根深蒂固的〔常含贬义〕


We need to cultivate a new kind of brain: a “bi-literate” reading brain capable of the deepest forms of thought in either digital or traditional mediums. A great deal hangs on it: the ability of citizens in a vibrant democracy to try on other perspectives and discern truth; the capacity of our children and grandchildren to appreciate and create beauty; and the ability in ourselves to go beyond our present glut of information to reach the knowledge and wisdom necessary to sustain a good society.

我们需要培养新型的大脑:一个无论在数字还是传统媒介中都能进行深度思考的“双语”阅读大脑。许多事都取决于此,包括民众能否在一个活跃的民主国家中换位思考、辨析真相,我们的孩子与孙辈能否欣赏与创造美,及我们自己能否超越如今的信息过剩,获得足够的知识与智慧来维持一个良好的社会。

glut /glʌt/ n. a supply of something, especially a product or crop, that is more than is needed 供应过剩


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【卫报】不深度阅读,人就会变蠢

<原文链接:https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/aug/25/skim-reading-new-normal-maryanne-wolf>

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2 Comments

  1. ItchyHacker ItchyHacker
    Google Chrome 64.0.3282.186 Google Chrome 64.0.3282.186 GNU/Linux x64 GNU/Linux x64
    Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/64.0.3282.186 Safari/537.36

    请问最后一句的’necessary”为什么翻译成足够呢,翻译成必要的是不是更合适?虽然可能对总体语意好像没多大影响,译者觉得呢?

    • Izzie Izzie
      Safari 10.0 Safari 10.0 iPhone iOS 10.2.1 iPhone iOS 10.2.1
      Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 10_2_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/602.4.6 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/10.0 Mobile/14D27 Safari/602.1

      拙见:足够,更能表达“量”上的尺度,必要且充分。

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