Do the speed reading Apps?


A team of researchers from the University of San Diego shows that when we use software to accelerate reading worse grasp the meaning of the text. The reason is that normally imperceptible eye movements performed in milliseconds to reread some words that have already passed and thus better understand what we read, which is not possible in applications designed to read between 500 and 1,000 words and are gaining great popularity .

In a fast-paced society, the need to process information as quickly as possible and presenting that information in small format screens for example, new smart-watches has brought success to various applications that promise to improve our reading skills . Spritz is the pioneer software in major mobile platforms, but we can already find many other Apps, which work in a similar way.

The method is to briefly show each word individually, marking in red one letter in particular that guides the reading. In theory, can read between 500 and 1,000 words per minute thanks to what is technically known as “fast serial visual presentation” (RSVP, its acronym in English). Before the fury of these applications, a team of researchers from the University of San Diego has conducted an inquiry to check whether this way of reading helps reading comprehension. In other words, if there really learn what we are reading at speed. In an article published in the journal “Psychological Science” Elizabeth R Schotter and his colleagues faced 40 university students without visual problems and other standard texts where words were transformed into X as the students read them, as happens when they disappear display in speed reading applications.

The results of the research show or at least question the usefulness of the programs as Spritz. “These applications are not useful because they deprive the reader control the sequence and duration of access to the words. If you do not understand something, there is the opportunity to turn back, “said Schotter. In addition to re-read consciously, the authors explain that by 10 to 15 percent of the time reading, eye movements made to the text and read. The reasons may be varied, like returning to a word that had jumped the eye if want, something that happens on occasion, or simply the way back, which occurs in milliseconds and of which we are unaware, can better understand the sense in the context of the sentence. By not allowing applications quick read that possibility, the researchers conclude that they have “drastic negative when it comes to understand what we are reading consequences.”

Meanwhile, the “fathers” of the application Spritz say that “we are reinventing the way people read to remove barriers associated with traditional reading on mobile devices. Reading has never been easier, efficient and effective in such small screens, “he said co-founder and CEO of the company, Frank Waldman.

So what is the secret to speed read? To Schotter recipe it is clear. “Practice, practice. As with any complex skill faster you will be based more and more readers read. Because reading requires coordination of various cognitive systems and practice is the only way to improve, “said the researcher at the Department of Psychology at the University of San Diego in California (USA).

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