“37 percent of people say they’ve listened to an audio book, and the medium continues to become an important substitute for old-fashioned reading.
[…] research that predates CDs suggests that reading and listening are strikingly similar cognitive processes. For example, 1985 study found listening comprehension correlated strongly with reading comprehension – suggesting that those who read books well would listen to them well, also. In a 1977 study, college students who listened to a short story were able to summarize it with equal accuracy as those who read it.
“The way this is usually interpreted is that once you are good at decoding letters into sound, which most of us are by the time we’re in 5th or 6th grade, the comprehension is the same whether it’s spoken or written,” explained University of Virginia psychology professor Dan Willingham.
What’s more, Willingham says there isn’t much individual variance in the way people absorb information (it’s an idea he touched on during a recent NPR interview, which debunked the myth of so-called “learning styles.”) Those who prefer one medium or the other simply like the feel of a physical book or the spoken kind.”