Edward Olsen

I am a former professional skateboarder and retired AST (rescue swimmer) for the United States Coast Guard. I am currently a professional stuntman in the film industry and I am working towards a masters degree in Marine Archaeology

E-books: A Psychological Effect in all Aspects of Our Life

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Willie Olsen
Nov 10, 2019
Nov 10 at 10:51pm

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E-books: A Psychological Effect in all Aspects of Our Life
E-books have become an essential yet damaging part of our lives. Not
only do they provide countless hours of recreation and entertainment
for people of all ages, but they have also become impactful in our
professional lives as well.

Employment- It is a realistic assumption that most professional fields in
existence have been affected by e-readers. White collar jobs like
doctors keep notes in surgery about the patient and the procedure for
quick access. Lawyers have access to an unlimited amount of past cases
to quote during trial. Bankers and loan officers have instant access to
resources like Kelly Blue Book
(Links to an external site.)
and mortgage rates. Blue Collar job’s
such as HVAC
(Links to an external site.)
(Heating and Air Conditioning) technicians use e-
readers to keep a track of jobs and materials, as well as invoicing.
Landscapers have access to resources like SLP (setting of landscape
plants), which is a state required course for a license. Repair
technicians make utilize e-book type touch screens to navigate very
complex commands, for instance, technicians who repair highly
specialized medical equipment. Even mechanics require the use of e-
readers because companies such as SnapOn
(Links to an external site.)
use a form of e-reader as
their diagnostic computer to ascertain vehicle codes needed for

Many companies have made the switch to a digital version of company
manuals and policy handbooks. They now also offer training through e-
books, making it easier than ever for employees to work on
professional development. In today’s world, employees simply don’t
have the time for training and studying of materials. In an article by
Thomas Madsen
(Links to an external site.)
, a study was sited that showed “employees can only
spare about 1% of their weekly time – on professional development.
That amounts to about 24 minutes a week”. Training through e-books
gives the employees flexibility to allow for training whenever they can.

Education- E-books simplify and enhance the overall learning
experience and has had a positive impact on the quality of education.
E-books make the learning process more interactive and engaging.
Digital learning content is some of the most exciting and potentially
impactful content to date. By utilizing the multi-faceted abilities of the
internet, the student working to earn a degree has more technology at
their disposal than ever before. From researching paper topics to
taking notes in class, e-books can successfully perform a plethora of
tasks which formerly required the student to spend unlimited hours at
the university library and manually taking notes. One of the most
engaging features for students is that e-books give the ease of
highlighting, annotating, and sharing notes with friends, tutors or study

Although e-books seem to have greatly enhanced our lives by making
our education and jobs easier, they have proven to be equally as

Digital Dementia – ‘Dementia’ is a term sadly all too familiar these days,
as instances soar of Alzheimer’s disease and other comparable
conditions all characterized by confusion, disorientation, and impaired
memory—literally a ‘loss of mind.’ However, the notion that an
analogous state might be linked to the screen lifestyle is as
controversial as it is potentially troubling.
“Digital Dementia” is a term coined by neuroscientist Manfred Spitzer
to describe an overuse of digital technology resulting in the breakdown
of cognitive abilities.1 Spitzer proposes that short-term memory
pathways will start to deteriorate from underuse if we overuse
technology. Although, in this blog, we have recently explored
outsourcing your memory to smartphones, these two concepts are
different—the mental disarray within the brain implied by the term
‘dementia’ is far more basic and complete. An under-practiced memory
process is far from being comparable to the wider cognitive
devastation that is dementia. (Susan Greenfield)
Loss of social skills – Children’s social skills may be declining as they have
less time for face-to-face interaction due to their increased use of digital
media, according to a UCLA psychology study. UCLA scientists found
that sixth graders who went five days without even glancing at a
smartphone, television or other digital screen did substantially better
at reading human emotions than sixth-graders from the same school
who continued to spend hours each day looking at their electronic

“Many people are looking at the benefits of digital media in education,
and not many are looking at the costs,” said Patricia Greenfield, a
distinguished professor of psychology in the UCLA College and senior
author of the study. “Decreased sensitivity to emotional cues — losing
the ability to understand the emotions of other people — is one of the
costs. The displacement of in-person social interaction by screen
interaction seems to be reducing social skills.” (Stewart Wolpert)

Social Isolation- What are the repercussions of social isolation in
teens? Research has shown that verbal conversations and face-to-face
communications decrease stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental
health issues. Connecting with others through social media is not as
rewarding. Kids that feel socially isolated already may be more drawn
to social media, while also being more emotionally vulnerable to the
risks. An unbalanced portion of time online may contribute to:

Higher mortality rates. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh
report that kids that feel socially isolated have a higher rate of

Distractions. The frequent interruptions from pings and notifications
keeps teens engaged (or addicted) on social media sites, and distracts
teenagers (and adults) from being fully engaged in the present

Social comparison. Research suggests that using Facebook frequently
can increase the likelihood of unrealistic social comparisons and

Lack of sleep, anxiety, depression, self-esteem. The University of
Glasgow researched the potential influence of nighttime use of
technology on teenage sleep, anxiety, depression, and self-esteem. The
study concluded that the nighttime use of social networking increased
the incidences of depression and anxiety.

Failing grades. Sleep disruption contributes to failing grades.

The list continues to grow as science and research reveals more and
more effects of the use of e-books on our psychological states. All of
these negative effects that have been revealed thus far beg the
question – How do we cope with the damaging effects of e-books,
whilst benefitting from the technological advantages?

How Digital Has Affected Script Writing

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There are three definitions that come to mind when using the word “script”, first the word is often used in the place of prescription, when referring to doctor prescribed medications. Second the word script is used by computer programmers and web designers referring to a list of commands executed by programs of scripting engines used to generate Web Pages and automated computer responses. Lastly the word script is short for all the details of a screenplay for film, television or video game. It entails everything from movements, dialogues to expressions and tonal quality and the writer’s vision. This will be the version of script we will be referring to in this article.

When we think of a screenplay or reading a script at a table read (when actors sit around a table and practice lines prior to any filming), we think only of the words on paper. Todays script writers must have an array of mental processes taking place simultaneously to consider when writing a script for any digital platform. This article will discuss some of the processes a writer needs to be aware of when working on a project.

Digital tools and technology have altered the process of the script writing process by making use of the interned and a multitude of edition tools. The Interned has allowed script writers to forward their work to potential cast members and fellow writers for peer review. There are online forums such as screencraft and scriptmother where writers can go for ideas and reviews from other writers and even collaborate with other talented writers thousands of miles away.

There has been an amazingly significant increase in the last decade in low budget digital cameras that have enabled low-budget films to produce some very good quality cinematography. The editing in post-production has cut film production by almost ½ the time of what it was when film was actually on film i.e. 35mm. If someone wants a grainy look of the 1970’s you can’t beat film, but you better budget in the cost of transferring your grainy film to a digital format running at a minimum of 4K. Script writers must take into account their vision and the cost effects of production.

Film also has other disadvantages over digital like it is impossible to re-use film. Once it is shot that image is there for good and can not be written over or recorded over. This means that a day of shooting must contain the footage the director is looking for or that day and the recourses consumed that day are of no use and bust be re-shot or that scene deleted from the final cut.
With digital multiple cameras can run the same shot at the exact same time all with different angles then seamlessly blended in post-production. This is not something the script writer is concerned with but should be able to corroborate with the director should a question arise.
When writing a script in the past it was an idea, a notebook and a pen. All scripts were hand delivered and when collaboration with other writers took place it was usually a meeting around a table over a couple of days or weeks. Today the script will transform from the pen and paper to a computer where it will then be forwarded to many different people for review with just a couple mouse clicks. Each person that collaborates on a project doesn’t even need to get out of bed to have their contribution noted.
A major downside for the film industry is that piracy of copyrighted material is significantly less expensive than original works. This has led to many lawsuits against peer-to-peer networks and individuals as a result of the copying and distribution of materials. Screenwriters should be cautious of whom they send their scripts to for review and have a legalities and copyrights in place to ensure their work remains their work. This is something screenplay writers didn’t worry about in the past because they could easily just take their scripts and notes and keep them.
With the rapid modifications of movies every year the industry has forced the script writer to become somewhat of an audio and video enthusiast as well because these aspects are incorporated into film, television, and video games. This is an ongoing process that evolves almost daily in some industries, one example is postproduction and the constant upgrades of tools and software which lead to continual training and production costs.
Editors in different countries can now edit film for quality, wording, and sound by accessing digitized media on a server and working in real time with other editors across the globe each specializing in a particular field to create a script that had never been dreamt of a decade ago. Digital archives are also easy to save and store. Pixar had an incident when creating Toy Story 2, where one of the animators almost deleted the entire film while he was working on it at his house. Thanks to digital and the ease of backups this multi-million-dollar catastrophe was avoided.
A script is now sent to an effects department so the team there can begin the process of laying out a blueprint for background work and special effects. The script writer needs to be very proficient in his or her description of what they are trying to convey in each scene. It is clear there has not been an area of screen writing that has not been affected by technology and the digital platform. The major impacts for pre-production stage have been script writing tools and the learning curve of the digital age.
Script writing is no longer just merely a dramatic array of words and method actors like Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with The Wind. A script writer must envision the entire production and have the actor’s reactions and movements constantly on mind when writing. The screenplay writers in the future must have skillsets that far supersede that of even todays writers. Scripts have expounded to consume all aspects of the digital world. While the writer may not necessarily need to know how to apply the concepts of a green room effects and wire work coupled with a 3-D image of a bullet screaming past the actors ear, they must be able to envision the process to accurately convey this in the words they are writing.

Emotional Responses to e-Books Versus Paper

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Which medium is preferable for leisure reading, e-book or paper? An article by Alison Flood in The Guardian (Links to an external site.) mentions a study conducted to try and answer that question. A lead researcher, Anne Mangen, said that they gave 50 participants a story to read. Half received paper copies and the other half received e-book copies. The study found that “the paper readers have a higher empathy, transportation and immersion along with narrative coherence than those with e-book copies of the same story.” 

Mangen also pointed to a study in which 72 tenth grade students were given a similar test: some had the physical text and some had a PDF. Mangen found that the print readers scored significantly higher on comprehension tests given during the study. 

Abigail Sellen of Microsoft Research Cambridge states (Links to an external site.) that “the implicit feel of where you are in a book turns out to be more important than we realize.” When we read a printed book, we sense the pages turning as the story unfolds before our eyes and in our imaginations. The reader can sense the story coming to an end as the pages lessen to the right and accumulate to the left. He gets a sense of progression and accomplishment. Could this sense be due to a form of sensory output supporting achievement through visual progression? 

I decided to do my own research involving a study of 30 readers. 15 were males and 15 were females. The females ranged in ages from 16-76, and the males were ages 19-72. The occupations of the study group varied on both data sets from retired educators and construction workers to professional actors and stunt performers. Both data sets have relatively similar educational backgrounds. Each participant agreed to read two books: Clive Cussler’s Valhalla Rising and Sahara. I chose these two books because they had action, suspense, drama, and romance with a relatively easy plot to follow and both were almost equivalent in length and content. All participants answered 11 comprehension questions about each story to ensure that they read the books in their entirety. 

Of the 30 participants, 63% preferred paper to e-books. The 63% that preferred paper stated that they felt more in control and that the e-book format was not as easy to connect with. As Abigail Sellen would have predicted, the participants wanted the feel of paper in their hands and the feeling of accomplishment from turning pages. In other words, to them, the overall serendipity and sense of control is better with the paper book. 

The 37% of the study group that preferred e-book stated that they preferred the ease and accessibility. Having a portable device to read in spare time was important due to an often-hectic schedule. This group also stated that lugging around another book along with their electronic device seemed unnecessary. Their responses were more mechanical in nature compared to the emotional responses from those that preferred paper books. 

Screens and e-readers interfere with intuitive management of written text and inhibit the mental mapping of the journey in the reader’s mind. In digital text, a reader can quickly skim over words, paragraphs, entire chapters, and even jump directly to a particular phrase. With paper books, the reader tends to feel as if they have cheated in some way for skimming over materials. 

Even though 37% voted for the e-book format, 65% of that same group admitted that the paper book was harder to put down. The times for reading within the two groups varied as well. The 63% who preferred paper enjoyed reading during leisure time and just before bed, while 15% of this group read at work. 76% of the e-book readers did their reading at work and 24% of them read during leisure time. The paper book readers were 87% more likely to put the stories’ events in chronological order as opposed to 72% of the e-book readers. While the paper book readers seemed to have more empathy for the main character, e-book readers were still on par with them having around 88% who understood his plight in both novels. 

With my own research and that done by both Anne Mangen’s group and Abigail Sellen, I believe that the cognitive site of our brain tends to be more emotionally connected to a story read on paper. While I am sure that producers of e-readers are striving every day to make their product as close to the real thing as they can, paper text still has more emotional impact. The research shows that most people want the paper book’s sense of accomplishment and old-fashioned feel of turning pages. 

E-books and sleep patterns

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Digital E-Readers and Sleep Patterns

From the time that printed books became available to the masses and not just a status symbol for the wealthy, people have been reading books before bedtime. The source of light when this habit was formed was a candle, and the medium by which books were written was paper and ink. Today there are a multitude of options whereby to obtain your reading material. The trending style of today comes in the form of an e-book, and e-reader. This electronic device is convenient but may come at a cost. A study from Harvard Medical (www.bbc.com/news/health-30574260) states “If you curl up under the duvet at bedtime to read then you are damaging your sleep and maybe your health”.
The human body has an internal clock (also known as your circadian rhythm) that has developed through millions of years of evolution. It tells our bodies to rest when the sun goes down and become active when the sun is out. Light regulates our sleep patterns by the production of a sleep-inducing hormone called melatonin. Melatonin levels decrease with exposure to light and increase in the dark. The light emitted from smartphones, e-readers and tablets shines at the same spectrum (around 460 to 480 nanometers) as the naturally occurring blue light spectrum produced by the sun that reduces the melatonin levels needed for a sound REM sleep (rapid eye movement). Our bodies naturally begin production of melatonin as the sun goes down. When we get into bed then turn on an electronic device, our eyes do not filter out the blue light, so we trick our bodies into thinking it is daytime. Melatonin production is slowed, and natural sleep patterns are disrupted.
The human body is in a constant state of cell replenish and replacement. The majority of healthy cell replacement is accomplished while we sleep. If adequate sleep is not obtained on a regular basis then we suffer from a multitude of degenerative diseases including, but not limited to arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, poor brain function, loss of alertness, increased anger, and decreased cell production. Lack of sleep also increases stress levels which can only exacerbate all of the conditions previously mentioned, thereby compounding the effects (www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/sleep-deprivation-and-deficiency). Since melatonin is a hormone, too little can lead to increased anxiety and nervousness. Your hormones play a major role in your overall health and are directly correlated to sleep patterns, which are disrupted by electronic devices that emit a back lit display. Though there are sleep drugs and melatonin readily available at every local pharmacy and shopping center, there really is no substitute for an all-natural and well rested body. The overall psychological effect of the loss of sleep and its correlation with blue light rays is still undergoing further research, however the results are conclusive that back lit screens emit blue light and this blue light reduces melatonin and decreases sleep.
For the reader that truly enjoys the e-book and the convenience of a tablet as opposed to paper, there are very few companies that produce e-readers and have taken note of the sleep deprivation issues. But thankfully there are options available. The original Kendal does not use a back lit display. Instead the original Kendal by Amazon uses a type of digital paper technology that the human eye absorbs more like a candle and paper than a digital reader, thereby eliminating blue light waves. (www.Android.com) and (www.Googleplay.com) offer a multitude of light filtering apps. Such as their most popular app named Twilight @ (www.twilight.urbandroid.org). Apple company currently does not offer an app or a blue light filter. Instead if you are using an IOS device, you have the option to go into settings and dim the light or switch to nighttime mode. There are third party apps such as Koala Browser, recommended by (www.saferkid.com). Finally, there is Flux (www.justgetflux.com) which is an app that adjusts the displays color temperature according to location and time of day. It is designed to reduce eye strain and encourage better sleep patterns. If you still need additional assistance in blue light filtering, Baush and Lomb offers a pill trademarked “OCUVITE” (www.ocuvite.com) designed to strengthen and replenish the macular pigment that filters blue light. This pill contains seven eye nutrients including lutein, zeaxanthin, omega-3 and vitamin D, claiming more eye nutrients than any other Ocuvite vitamin.
The National Sleep Foundation suggests that both children and adults set a digital curfew. The suggested time is two hours before bedtime. However, researchers for the foundation state that even thirty minutes before bedtime is better than sitting in bed with an e-reader waiting to fall asleep. A natural paper book with a lamp and not an overhead light is the suggested reading configuration. The e-ink or kindle paperwhite (as opposed to the kindle fire) are a better choice. It is also suggested that you read something not work related or potentially stressful. Try not to scroll social media, or text before bed. Create a “sleep-positive bedroom environment”. Take a bit of time to let your mind clear from the day by reading something relaxing, a relaxed body is more susceptible to a productive night’s sleep.
If you are feeling relaxed and ready for bed, but cannot get to sleep when you lie down, and experience the feeling of your mind being in overdrive, you may be suffering from a decrease in melatonin. There a few steps you can take to naturally regulate your body back to normal. First, try to get outside early in the morning. This will decrease the production of melatonin so you will be ready to produce more when the sun goes down. Second, try to relax and slow down, avoid social media and begin healthy habits like showering and reading either paper or a non-blue light emitting device. Next, set a regular bedtime for yourself and stick to it. This will tell the body it is time to start producing melatonin. Set a bedtime alarm if necessary. Also, avoid exposure to triggers that keep you awake or stressed. Lastly, create a space that is void of loud jarring sounds.