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Method of Reading Discovered 181

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the going-crosseyed dept.
Scientists have discovered that the method our eyes use to process letters on a page is different than previously believed. Instead of assimilating one letter at a time our eyes actually lock on to two different letters simultaneously about half the time. "The team's results demonstrated that both eyes lock on to the same letter 53% of the time; for 39% of the time they see different letters with uncrossed eyes; and for 8% of the time the eyes are crossing to focus on different letters. A follow-up experiment with the eye-tracking equipment showed that we only see one clear image when reading because our brain fuses the different images from our eyes together."
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Method of Reading Discovered

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  • duh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jm.one (655706) on Monday September 10, 2007 @01:24PM (#20541319)
    [i]"A follow-up experiment with the eye-tracking equipment showed that we only see one clear image when reading because our brain fuses the different images from our eyes together."[/i] Wait... they neeeded a follow up experiment to discover something that is so well known that it s rather common knowledge? I mean.. the other stuff isnt actually news either but this... and how does eye-trracking lead to a RESULT about what the brain does. I mean... an eye tracking experiment leading to a thesis.. or supporting a thesis about bain function... that sounds logic to me. To sum this up.. this slashdot article is badly written in multiple aspects.
  • One meter away? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 10, 2007 @01:25PM (#20541343)
    Sophisticated eye-tracking equipment allowed the team to pinpoint which letter a volunteer's eyes focused on, when reading 14-point font from one metre away.

    And I wonder how many people actually choose to read from that far away (?) In my observations, most people are at considerably less than half that distance from their monitor or book, especially for those of us who are near-sighted.

  • by LOTHAR, of the Hill (14645) on Monday September 10, 2007 @01:26PM (#20541357)
    Reading is a process of pattern recognition. We recognize and assemble patterns of letters/symbols and then associate those patterns with meaning. Some people can recognize larger patterns at a time, other people can only recognize shorter patterns. Most people move past the "processing a single letter at a time" stage of pattern recognition at a young age. Personally, I read whole multiple words or even short sentences at a time.

    This has been known for a very long time.
  • Ligatures (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Biff Stu (654099) on Monday September 10, 2007 @01:28PM (#20541393)
    Typographers have used ligatures for ages. Now we have a scientific explanation.
  • Fusing images (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BorgDrone (64343) on Monday September 10, 2007 @01:33PM (#20541477) Homepage

    A follow-up experiment with the eye-tracking equipment showed that we only see one clear image when reading because our brain fuses the different images from our eyes together.
    No it doesn't.

    There is no internal 'viewscreen' that the brain displays the images on. (a so called "cartesian theater" [wikipedia.org] ) after all, if that happens, who is watching the screen and how does that work ?

    Instead of an internal 'framebuffer' I think* it's more like a MVC kind of system. Instead of pasting parts of images on an internal framebuffer to make up a whole, the individual parts are used to fill the datamodel of the world you've got inside your head. You 'see' the datamodel.

    * - This is all just a bit of philosophizing on my side, I may be completely wrong.
  • by fbjon (692006) on Monday September 10, 2007 @01:59PM (#20541939) Homepage Journal
    Did you time your reading? Unless you read things like that every day, you very likely didn't read at full speed, only almost at most. The words are indeed prepared to be easily readable, even though they seem randomly jumbled, but it still requires more processing than non-jumbled words. The more you jumble, the more difficult it becomes, no surprise there.


    The surprise from being able to read what at first glance looks like nonsense is indeed a surprise, and that masks the effort that actually went into interpreting it. Explanations/debunkings are available on the net.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 10, 2007 @02:55PM (#20542775)

    If that were the case, people would be able to perceive a "blinking" when they were sitting in front of a computer screen.
    Not necessarily. There is a big difference between perception and brain-eye operation. For example, there is a big hole in the middle of your eye there your optic nerve goes to your brain. There are various optical illusions that expose this fact. Yet you don't "perceive" a hole right in the middle of everything, it just happens to be significant in certain circumstances. The same can be said of reading. You don't perceive decoding each letter and each word in its constituent parts to make the concepts. This is the part that we still don't understand. However, testing if refresh rates have a negative impact on reading speed/comprehension can be tested by using different refresh rates, both perceived and not.

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