Studies Show Consumers Embrace Information on Paper with Greater Effect than Digital


Sappi North America Releases Neurological Research Highlighting the Impact of Print in the Marketing Mix

BOSTON –  Is print dead? Not by a long shot, according to neuroscience and the daily experience of leading brands.

Sappi North America, a leading producer and supplier of diversified paper and packaging products, today released A Communicator's Guide to the Neuroscience of Touch, bringing together for the first time in one place the critical scientific research, as well as case studies from Apple, BMW and the World Wildlife Fund, that demonstrate the power of touch in print communications.

Created by the communications consultancy, Rigsby Hull, the Communicator's Guide synthesizes decades of research and evidence to demonstrate:

  • The brain is built to respond to touch. More than half the brain is devoted to processing sensory experience, and much of that sensory receptivity focuses on touch;
  • What we touch shapes what we feel, influencing perceptions both consciously and subconsciously about people, situations, companies and brands; and,
  • Scientific studies show that people who merely touch an object, or even imagine touching it, begin exhibiting a sense of ownership.

Dr. David Eagleman, neuroscientist, best-selling author and creator of PBS' series, The Brain, served as the science advisor to the project.

Among the studies this book cites is a new finding from Eagleman Lab, which demonstrated that consumers who read about a fictitious company on heavy, high-quality coated paper had more positive feelings about the company and understood and remembered the content significantly better than those who read the exact same content on either lighter, lower quality uncoated paper or on a computer screen.

"Online reading is often purposeful and utilitarian, a kind of information foraging for a clear goal," said Dr. Eagleman, director of the Baylor College of Medicine's Laboratory for Perception and Action. "But paper directs attention and working memory much differently, with a resulting increase in understanding and retention. Even digital natives are more likely to remember something longer when they read it on paper."

A Communicator's Guide also showcases the experience of Apple, BWM and World Wildlife Fund, respected global brands that have built deep, emotional connections to their audiences by incorporating high-quality paper into integrated communications that are not only visually appealing, but are also effective and reflective of each brand's unique mission.

"Paper matters for brands that matter," said Jennifer Miller, Executive Vice President, Coated Business, and Chief Sustainability Officer, Sappi North America. "The collective power of this research, along with Dr. Eagleman's expert insights, show why marketing professionals and the publishers of high-end magazines and books continue to rely on paper as a key ingredient of the brand experience. They recognize, as we do, that consumers are wired to interact with paper like no other medium."

Dr. Eagleman, along with Lana Rigsby, founding partner of Rigsby Hull, will discuss the book's findings and the study of touch at an event in New York City, NY, on May 27, 2015. Their session, "Haptic Brain, Haptic Brand," will look at communications through the lens of neuroscience, exploring how media shape the brain and, consequently, the way a brand is perceived.

A Communicator's Guide to the Neuroscience of Touch also contains six companion videos featuring Dr. Eagleman, which are accessible through the hard copy book. To order a copy, please contact your Sappi Sales Representative, or call 1.800.882.4332. For additional information please visit

Source: Sappi North America Press Release, May 26, 2015.