In a review published earlier this month, a team of cognitive psychologists from the University of California, San Diego and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that speed reading techniques, which aim to help increase the average 200 to 400 words a minute a person can read, are likely ineffective for actually absorbing material.
“The available scientific evidence demonstrates that there is a trade-off between speed and accuracy,” Elizabeth Schotter, a psychologist at the University of California, San Diego, said in a press release. “As readers spend less time on the material, they necessarily will have a poorer understanding of it.”
“Now, Professor Schotter, let me get this straight: you’re actually telling us that people who spend less time and effort attending to something, in this case words on a page, will have less understanding of it than people who devote more attention to it? Do I have that right?”
“Yes, Renée, that’s correct. To our great surprise, that’s what the data tells us.”