The claims put forth by many speed-reading programs and tools are probably too good to be true, according to a new study. There are no magic shortcuts when it comes to reading more quickly while still fully understanding what we’ve read, says the interesting study.
Learning to speed-read seems like an obvious strategy for making quick work of all the emails, reports, and other pieces of text we encounter every day.
Some speed-reading technologies claim to offer an additional boost by eliminating the need to make eye movements by presenting words rapidly in the center of a computer screen or mobile device, with each new word replacing the previous word, the researchers said.
“We wanted to take a close look at the science behind reading to help people make informed decisions about whether to believe the claims put forth by companies promoting speed reading technologies and training courses,” said Elizabeth Schotter, a psychological scientist at the University of California - San Diego in US.
However, skilled readers read quickly, averaging 200 to 400 words per minute, the findings showed.
The biggest obstacle, science shows, isn’t our vision but rather our ability to recognize words and process how they combine to make meaningful sentences, the researchers explained.
While some technologies may claim prodigious speed-reading skills. Data suggest that the most effective “speed readers” are actually effective skimmers who already have considerable familiarity with the topic at hand and are thus able to pick out key points quickly, they added.
The study was published in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest.