Speed Reading, Proofreading, and Individual Differences
Throughout most of this book we have discussed reading as the careful processing of written material. As we said in Chapter 1 , we have approached reading in terms of someone carefully reading a textbook or a newspaper article or a novel (which you must read carefully in order to pay attention to the plot). However, it is clearly the case that we can read in different ways under certain conditions. For example, when you read a novel that is not particularly intellectually stimulating, but which has a certain amount of entertainment value (or “escapism”) associated with it, you may be aware of reading much more quickly than you normally do. If you think carefully about it, your introspections may suggest that you are skipping over large sections of the text. You probably do this because many parts of such novels are either totally predictable or very redundant. We would want to classify your reading behavior in such a situation as a mixture of reading (where you are carefully processing the text) and skimming . By skimming we mean the type of reading activity in which you skim over the text without really deeply comprehending it. In this chapter we review alternatives to the type of careful reading that we have been discussing in the rest of this book. In particular, we begin the chapter by discussing speed reading, followed by a discussion of research on proofreading and mindless reading. Along the way we discuss the concept of skimming on a number of occasions. We conclude the chapter by discussing individual differences in reading.