Reading speed, comprehension and eye movements while reading Japanese novels

Evidence from untrained readers and cases of speed-reading trainees

Hiromitsu Miyata, Yasuyo Minagawa, Shigeru Watanabe, Toyofumi Sasaki, Kazuhiro Ueda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: 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. Methodology/Principal Findings: 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. Conclusions/Significance: 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.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere36091
JournalPLoS One
Volume7
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012 May 9

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Eye movements
Eye Movements
Reading
eyes
Students
students
Computer monitors
Meditation
Saccades
methodology
cognition
Cognition
Display devices
Japan
case studies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Reading speed, comprehension and eye movements while reading Japanese novels : Evidence from untrained readers and cases of speed-reading trainees. / Miyata, Hiromitsu; Minagawa, Yasuyo; Watanabe, Shigeru; Sasaki, Toyofumi; Ueda, Kazuhiro.

In: PLoS One, Vol. 7, No. 5, e36091, 09.05.2012.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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