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Reading speed, comprehension and eye movements while reading Japanese novels: evidence from untrained readers and cases of speed-reading trainees

, : Reading speed, comprehension and eye movements while reading Japanese novels: evidence from untrained readers and cases of speed-reading trainees. Plos One 7(5): E36091-E36091

A growing body of evidence suggests that meditative training enhances perception and cognition. In Japan, the Park-Sasaki method of speed-reading involves organized visual training while forming both a relaxed and concentrated state of mind, as in meditation. The present study examined relationships between reading speed, sentence comprehension, and eye movements while reading short Japanese novels. In addition to normal untrained readers, three middle-level trainees and one high-level expert on this method were included for the two case studies. In Study 1, three of 17 participants were middle-level trainees on the speed-reading method. Immediately after reading each story once on a computer monitor, participants answered true or false questions regarding the content of the novel. Eye movements while reading were recorded using an eye-tracking system. Results revealed higher reading speed and lower comprehension scores in the trainees than in the untrained participants. Furthermore, eye-tracking data by untrained participants revealed multiple correlations between reading speed, accuracy and eye-movement measures, with faster readers showing shorter fixation durations and larger saccades in X than slower readers. In Study 2, participants included a high-level expert and 14 untrained students. The expert showed higher reading speed and statistically comparable, although numerically lower, comprehension scores compared with the untrained participants. During test sessions this expert moved her eyes along a nearly straight horizontal line as a first pass, without moving her eyes over the whole sentence display as did the untrained students. In addition to revealing correlations between speed, comprehension and eye movements in reading Japanese contemporary novels by untrained readers, we describe cases of speed-reading trainees regarding relationships between these variables. The trainees overall tended to show poor performance influenced by the speed-accuracy trade-off, although this trade-off may be reduced in the case of at least one high-level expert.


PMID: 22590519

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0036091

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