Reading Faster: The Science Behind What Works… and What Doesn’t

This week, we’re diving deep into the science of reading.

My guest today is Liz Schotter, a postgraduate student in psychology at UC San Diego and one of the most active researchers in the field of reading and eye-tracking at the moment.

I reached out to her when I was doing research for the 3rd video in the speed reading series, and the insight she was kind enough to provide really helped to make that video shine.

After finishing that video series, however, I still had questions, including:

  • What are the biological structures in the eyes that make the middle (foveal) regions so much better at reading than the peripheral areas?
  • does subvocalization seem to be necessary to reading?

So I decided to ask Liz to be a guest on the podcast, and today, you’ll learn the answers to those questions and more.

Liz covers how the eye is set up, the difference between the two different photoreceptors within the eye – cones and rods (and how they send information to the brain) – and how reading is intimately connected with language and speech. We’ll also talk more in-depth about the speed reading systems I covered in the video series, and finally we’ll cover the best ways to become a better reader.

If you’d like to dig even further into this topic, Liz recently published a detailed paper that collects and presents much of the research that’s been done on speed reading; additionally, it explains the reading process and goes in-depth on many of the things we talk about in this episode. It’s publicly available, so check the link down below if you’d like to read it!

Things mentioned in this episode:

  • Liz’s website
  • Keith Rayner
  • The science behind reading speed
  • 3 common speed reading techniques debunked
  • How to ACTUALLY read faster

Want more cool stuff? You can find all sorts of great tools at my Resources page.

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