Connect with us

Thai Life

Fast and forgetful: speed reading apps driven by hype

Published

 on 

Thaiger deals

PHUKET: As readers plug into the insurmountable volume of information pouring in from the internet, the desire for knowledge consumption – though not new – abounds. We want to download expertise. (We’ve all seen the Matrix.) We want information; we want it all; and we want it fast. Enter: speed-reading applications.

Now, the hype surrounding speed reading apps such as Spritz, Velocity, Speed Reader Trainer and Acceleread have not gotten to the point at which users expect to be plugged into the grid and download the information – our bodies twitching as if on the verge of a seizure. However, the apps do claim to boost reading levels from 200 to 400 words per minute to more than 1,000 words per minute. At that rate, you could put a novel to bed in about 90 minutes.

Spritz has stolen most of the tech headlines with its “Optimal Recognition Point”, which the Boston-based company spent three years developing based on an older technology called Rapid Serial Visual Presentation (RSVP).

“It positions words in a spot on a display where you can recognize the word without moving your eye… About 80 per cent of reading time, conventionally, is spent moving your eye from one word to the next. So just placing each word in a spot where you don’t have to move your eye saves you a lot of time, and in that time, your brain can process the word you just read, and prepare for reading and recognizing the next word,” Frank Waldman, co-founder and CEO of Spritz, told Here & Now in March.

Speed-reading tools are nothing new, having been very popular back in the 1950s. And the science that has backed them has always been seen by skeptics as shaky.

“When you factor out the amount of time spent thinking through complex and unfamiliar concepts – a rarity when people read for pleasure – reading is an appallingly mechanical process. You look at a word or several words. This is called a ‘fixation’, and it takes about 0.25 seconds on average. You move your eye to the next word or group of words. This is called a ‘saccade,’ which takes about 0.1 seconds on average. After this is repeated once or twice, you pause to comprehend the phrase you just looked at. That takes roughly 0.3 to 0.5 seconds on average,” University of California eye-tracking researcher Keith Rayner told LifeHacker.

Dr Rayner’s research presented in “Eye movements and information processing during reading” counters the claims of speed-readers and speed-reading app developers, who both claim that comprehension is sufficient.

“You can practice going faster and you probably will, but when you start going too fast you’ll start losing comprehension. Most speed-reading methods involve getting rid of subvocalization [internal speech made when reading]. Research shows that when you do that and the text is difficult, comprehension goes to pieces,” Dr Rayner said.

“Then with RSVP, words come pretty fast, but working memory gets overloaded and words come in faster than you can deal with them.”

But then again, maybe all of the tech gurus and scientists are missing the point.

Reading is about more than ticking titles off of a list and compiling information – it’s about character. It’s about a latte in a coffee shop and a cute girl in the corner who asks you what you’re reading, and that moment when you have to close the book and look because it had taken you to an entirely different world.

— Isaac Stone Simonelli

 

Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Crime9 hours ago

Everything stolen from Danish man’s 3 homes on Koh Samui

Vietnam10 hours ago

Thai Vietjet resumes Bangkok-Da Lat flights after 3-year break

Chon Buri11 hours ago

A mother and baby escape blaze in Chon Buri with severe burns

Politics11 hours ago

Whole new world of censorship pain on its way to Thailand

Technology11 hours ago

Apple plans to move production out of China and into Thailand

Hot News12 hours ago

Sex outside of marriage to carry one year jail sentence in Indonesia

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Phang Nga12 hours ago

Four orcas spotted playing near the Similan Islands

Economy13 hours ago

Arrogant Thai construction company rips off Myanmar migrant workers

Bangkok14 hours ago

Safety systems at Central World found fully functional after fire

Malaysia15 hours ago

Big Joke ready to extradite Malaysian super-crook ‘Teddy’

Hot News15 hours ago

Thai govt’s chemical castration policy takes effect next month

Transport16 hours ago

RTP urges Thai drivers not to ignore e-tickets, they’re real, not fake

Transport16 hours ago

A few good apples – Taxi drivers are not all bad

Hot News17 hours ago

Pro-monarchy ‘dictator’ must be stopped from retiring in Australia, say Thai asylum activists

Events17 hours ago

Father’s Day celebrated throughout Thailand today

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending