It’s a question that has baffled science for decades, and the answer lies in a seemingly simple phenomenon known as “the speed reading effect”.
This is the ability of people to read more quickly than others when presented with information.
And it’s something that scientists have struggled to explain for decades.
Now, new research has found that this speed reading ability may not be limited to one particular group of people, but can be present in a wider population.
A study led by the University of Manchester has found this speed-reading ability is present in both young and older people.
It’s the first study to directly test this speedreading ability, which is based on a group of volunteers who were asked to read a set of 10 sentences for 30 seconds each.
Participants were also asked to record their responses in a video to test their speed reading abilities.
“Our study provides the first direct evidence that speed reading is not a fixed trait, but rather a ‘general ability’ that is shared across individuals, with age and gender associated with its distribution,” the authors wrote in the study.
The speed reading test The speed-reader test consisted of reading 10 words per minute for 30 milliseconds.
Participants then watched the video of the volunteers reading each sentence and were given a rating on how fast they were reading the text.
“We found that young adults who read quickly were more likely to have a speed reading of 30-60 words per second, compared with older adults who were more experienced at reading faster,” lead researcher Dr. Richard Haggerty said.
“Young adults who scored very highly on this test had higher speed readings than their older counterparts.”
The speedreading test was designed to determine whether speed reading has a biological basis, but the researchers found no evidence of a biological component in the speed reading results.
“It is possible that speed writing is more generalised than the speed-readers test, which can be a good predictor of general intelligence, but that this generalisation is likely to be less reliable than a specific test,” Dr. HaggerTY said.
The results of the study could help researchers to determine how to best design future speed-writing tests, as well as help explain why some people appear to be able to read faster than other people.
The researchers also found that younger adults, who may be more capable of reading a slower speed, also showed greater speed reading accuracy than older adults.
What can speed readers learn?
One key to understanding the speed writing ability lies in the fact that the speed reader tests only involve reading 10 seconds of a text.
This makes the speed test extremely difficult to perform.
“There are several problems with the speed readings,” Dr Haggertty said.
First, speed reading tests often involve asking a person to read an article for 30-90 seconds.
For this reason, the authors said, speed readers should not be used in such tests, unless the person is really fast at reading a sentence in just 30 seconds.
“The speed reader test is not as simple as saying ‘how fast are you?’
It’s much more complicated than that,” Dr Lutz said.
In other words, people who are more experienced with speed reading will likely have a better read, because their ability to read longer and faster sentences will be stronger.
The second issue with speed readers is that they are very short-term tests.
“This makes it very difficult to use speed reading to predict general intelligence,” Dr Janko Karkoski, a researcher at the University College London and one of the authors of the new study, said in a press release.
“For example, the speed readers are short-lived.
Speed reading tests could therefore be used to predict intelligence, as it is very difficult for scientists to use these tests to detect significant differences between groups of individuals.”