General, Research, Technology

Is it really possible to master speed reading?

XXI century - the most information age in historyof humanity. Never before have we come across the amount of information that is currently presented not only in the global network, but also in more traditional sources: books, magazines and newspapers. However, despite the universal availability of any type of information, humanity reads less and less because of the banal lack of time. In order to somehow brighten up such a depressing trend, various methods of speed reading were invented, allowing us to receive information from print sources much faster than before. However, do they really work?

Are speed reading methods really useful?

Do speed reading methods help?

Although a huge amount of modern advertisingeverywhere calls us to purchase one or another webinar by speed reading, scientists say that an increase in the speed of obtaining information from print sources by more than 3 times is simply impossible.

Reading is a rather difficult task for the brain,requiring concentration and the ability to interpret incoming information. In order to read this text, your body needs to coordinate several mental systems at once. So, you must first see the word, recognize it and grasp the necessary meaning, then connect it with the rest of the sentence and the wider surrounding context.

See also: How have technology made reading books even more convenient?

Sometimes a failure in the reading process requires you toreturned and re-read the necessary segment again. Despite the fact that in real life all this happens very quickly (an experienced reader can read from 200 to 300 words per minute), it is almost impossible to speed up this process while maintaining accuracy.

The average person’s reading speed is approximately 250 words per minute

For the first time they started talking about speed reading back in 1959,when Evelyn Wood introduced the first reading speed program. The book became so popular that US presidents Carter, Nixon and Kennedy sent their closest subordinates straight to popular courses. Indeed, considered unique, the Wood technique taught people to read whole passages at once, while other approaches involved slightly different methods, for example, by scanning a text in a zigzag pattern. Scientists believe that our eyes at this time make absolutely useless movements that are in no way associated with the process of perceiving information.

Studies show that visual acuityfocuses on a relatively small area of ​​perceived information, which makes it impossible to analyze and read large volumes of text at the same time. Reading comprehension is the ability to recognize words, so adjusting your eye movements will probably not help you read faster. Due to the fact that our brain perceives information in an orderly manner, the zigzag pattern of the text is likely to only worsen your reading and your vision, without giving you the opportunity to gain new knowledge.

In recent years, many authors of methodsspeed reading claimed that they could help increase reading speed without exposing you to any training. So, some mobile applications have learned to display text only one word at a time, one after the other with a certain speed. Thus, your eyes are forced to focus on the word in front of you. But then again, the eyes sometimes have to go back and reread the words in order to fully understand the text. Although the eyes can only focus on a small area, research has shown that your organs of vision can capture important information outside the word in focus - something that simply cannot be done if you start reading only one word at a time.

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Of course, read speed is highly dependent onmany factors. So, due to certain physical and mental characteristics, some people turn out to be faster readers than others. Those who have the best working memory or the ability to process information faster are able to recognize up to 600 characters per minute. However, all the allegations that people can double or even triple their reading speed, seem to the researchers very doubtful. Studies have shown that most speed reading techniques do not provide the opportunity to fully understand and correctly perceive a particular material.