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Online Skim Reading Is Taking Over the Human Brain 224

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the slashdot-ruined-your-brain dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Michael S. Rosenwald reports in the Washington Post that, according to cognitive neuroscientists, humans seem to be developing digital brains with new circuits for skimming through the torrent of information online at the expense of traditional deep reading circuitry... Maryanne Wolf, one of the world's foremost experts on the study of reading, was startled last year to discover her brain was apparently adapting, too. After a day of scrolling through the Web and hundreds of e-mails, she sat down one evening to read Hermann Hesse's challenging novel The Glass Bead Game. 'I'm not kidding: I couldn't do it,' says Wolf. 'It was torture getting through the first page. I couldn't force myself to slow down so that I wasn't skimming, picking out key words, organizing my eye movements to generate the most information at the highest speed. I was so disgusted with myself.'

The brain was not designed for reading and there are no genes for reading like there are for language or vision. ... Before the Internet, the brain read mostly in linear ways — one page led to the next page, and so on. The Internet is different. With so much information, hyperlinked text, videos alongside words and interactivity everywhere, our brains form shortcuts to deal with it all — scanning, searching for key words, scrolling up and down quickly. This is nonlinear reading, and it has been documented in academic studies. ... Some researchers believe that for many people, this style of reading is beginning to invade our ability to deal with other mediums. 'We're spending so much time touching, pushing, linking, scrolling and jumping through text that when we sit down with a novel, your daily habits of jumping, clicking, linking is just ingrained in you,' says Andrew Dillon."
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Online Skim Reading Is Taking Over the Human Brain

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  • Meh (Score:5, Funny)

    by Mateorabi (108522) on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @03:03AM (#46691561) Homepage
    tl;dr
    • Re:Meh (Score:5, Funny)

      by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo@@@world3...net> on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @03:34AM (#46691691) Homepage

      Can someone summarize the summary, it's too long to bother skimming.

      • Re:Meh (Score:4, Interesting)

        by geekmux (1040042) on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @06:12AM (#46692199)

        Can someone summarize the summary, it's too long to bother skimming.

        I find this comical, and yet it was flagged as Insightful.

        I guess we know how the masses feel. Goodbye bookstores and movies theaters, hello Twitter and Vine.

        Seriously, think about that. What happens when this mentality involuntarily leads society to continue to shrink their ability to be attentive to anything?

        Will Hollywood react and install POS scanners on every theater door so patrons can "swipe" to see the next 3-minute micro-movie? Will they even bother selling popcorn and soda?

        Will Stephen King give up on novels and start writing really scary comic books 12 times a year?

        When everything in life warrants no more than 30 seconds of peoples precious time, good luck finding value or reward in anything you do. Even something fun.

        • Comic books? Too long! Three panel comic strips!

          • by ganjadude (952775)
            3? Pfft, ill take my comics the way they were intended, single panel and political in nature
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Will Hollywood react and install POS scanners on every theater door so patrons can "swipe" to see the next 3-minute micro-movie?

          Hollywood has been reacting for years. Just look at a movie from 50 years ago compared to today. Lawrence of Arabia was considered the greatest action movie made. Today it would be a drama at best. Most movie goers want an hour and a half to two hours of explosions, choreographed kung-fu dance fights, and physics defying car/plane/spaceship chases. There's a reason Michael Bay movies do so well. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I enjoy the occasional explosion-fest too. Just look at the original

          • Re:Meh (Score:5, Interesting)

            by meta-monkey (321000) on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @11:16AM (#46694391) Journal

            Congratulations, you are starting to get the same type of mindset your grandparents have/had. Now get in front of a mirror and start working on your "get off my lawn" face. ;-)

            An Egyptian legend relates that when the god Thoth revealed his discovery of writing to King Thamos, the good King denounced it as the enemy of civilization. "Children and young people," protested the monarch, "who had hitherto been forced to apply themselves diligently to learn and retain whatever was taught them would cease to apply themselves and would neglect to exercise their memories."

            Kids these days. Seems like the next generation has been ruining civilization since civilization began.

        • by guises (2423402)

          I guess we know how the masses feel. Goodbye bookstores and movies theaters, hello Twitter and Vine.

          You seem to have interpreted the summary as another "our attention spans are shrinking!" article, that isn't how I read it. This is talking about how people approach lengthier bodies of text, it has nothing to do with Twitter or Vine on the surface, and I don't see it as necessarily a bad thing. What the article is saying is that we are adapting to adsorb information quickly rather than thoroughly. My claim: both things are valuable.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by peragrin (659227)

        another moron posted another moronic theory of how the brain works based on their own personal experiences of stupidity, laziness, and lack of focus. These used to be published by quick magazines called tabloids. Now they look legitimate.

        I personally felt stupider just reading the summary. I am online at work all day. now I can't watch tv without doing something else but I have gone through a dozen books(usually ebooks but not always) since christmas without any kind of issue.

        • I think it's more of a personal evolution thing. My wife, and the parent poster, still read lots of long books, so they can still do it just fine. Those of us who only read five or six novels (or less!) a year may tend to agree with the original summary. I still have times when I like to get back and re-read my favorite books, but I've found that I can keep the attention better by listening to it in audiobook form than by paper-book reading. Maybe I just need a good reading chair again and I'd be able to re

    • by mwvdlee (775178)

      tl;ds

    • You didn't even skim it?
    • by bug1 (96678)

      If you RTFA you would realise that tl;dr is for inter...nubs.

    • tl;dr

      I was a bit disappointed that this wasn't the first post. :)

  • Ltetres odrer (Score:5, Informative)

    by x0ra (1249540) on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @03:09AM (#46691585)
    Acocdrnig to an elgnsih unviesitry sutdy the oredr of letetrs in a wrod dosen’t mttaer, the olny thnig thta’s iopmrantt is that the frsit and lsat ltteer of eevry word is in the crcreot ptoision. The rset can be jmbueld and one is stlil able to raed the txet wiohtut dclftfuiiy.
    • Re:Ltetres odrer (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @03:25AM (#46691665)

      This age old internet legend is not exactly true [balancedreading.com].

    • by tommten (212387) on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @04:25AM (#46691867) Homepage Journal

      Acocdrnig to an elgnsih unviesitry sutdy the oredr of letetrs in a wrod dosen’t mttaer, the olny thnig thta’s iopmrantt is that the frsit and lsat ltteer of eevry word is in the crcreot ptoision. The rset can be jmbueld and one is stlil able to raed the txet wiohtut dclftfuiiy.

      Accordian to an elkish un-visitry, subtle the oreo of lettuce in a wood doesn't mate, the owl-thing hates iops-rant, is that the fist and salt litter of every word in concrete poison. the rest can be a jumbojet and one is slit able to dear the extew king tut in a flurry. Sure thing!

    • by geekmux (1040042)

      Acocdrnig to an elgnsih unviesitry sutdy the oredr of letetrs in a wrod dosen’t mttaer, the olny thnig thta’s iopmrantt is that the frsit and lsat ltteer of eevry word is in the crcreot ptoision. The rset can be jmbueld and one is stlil able to raed the txet wiohtut dclftfuiiy.

      In other words, Spelling Nazis have no more a justified job these days than real Nazis.

    • Re:Ltetres odrer (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Dan East (318230) on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @07:45AM (#46692495) Homepage Journal

      I wrote a script to do that:
      http://dexsoft.com/wordscrambl... [dexsoft.com]

      Thing is, once you start throwing lots of more robust text in there (excerpt from a book, etc), it becomes very apparent that it really only works with simple, common words. Once you start using proper nouns and more diverse vocabulary, it becomes very difficult to read the scrambled text. Also, the way the words are scrambled makes a big difference too. I ran your text through my scrambler a few times, and some of the results were harder to read than others.

      Here's the summary scrambled, and there are parts that can be read pretty easily, but then there are words that simply can't be read "automatically" and you have to sit and think about them.

      Meiahcl S. Rlwosnead rtoreps in the Wnasitgohn Psot taht, adrnioccg to covniitge ntesenucoiirtss, haumns seem to be dopnvileeg daigtil binras wtih new crtiuics for simnkimg torhguh the trneort of irfianoomtn oinlne at the eespnxe of taadinrtiol deep ridneag ctucirriy... Mraaynne Wlof, one of the wlrod's fsmoroet exptres on the stduy of rnadieg, was stretlad last yaer to divseocr her bairn was aertpnalpy antiadpg, too. After a day of srincollg tghoruh the Web and hdedruns of e-malis, she sat dwon one enenvig to raed Hearmnn Hsese's ciannlhgleg nvoel The Galss Baed Gmae. 'I'm not kniddig: I cdluon't do it,' syas Wlof. 'It was troture getitng touhgrh the fisrt page. I cdouln't fcroe msyelf to solw down so taht I wsan't siknmmig, pciinkg out key wdors, ognranizig my eye moetvnems to geantere the most ifianotromn at the hsiehgt seped. I was so digsutsed wtih mylesf.'

      The bairn was not dseengid for riaendg and trhee are no geens for radenig lkie three are for lauaggne or vioisn. ... Bfeore the Irntneet, the barin raed mtlosy in leianr wyas — one pgae led to the nxet pgae, and so on. The Inntreet is deneiffrt. With so mcuh iorfainomtn, hpyernilked txet, vedois asldgonie wdors and ireittntavciy eewvhrerye, our branis form suothcrts to dael wtih it all — snnicang, sinhcaerg for key wdros, srlclnoig up and down qilkcuy. Tihs is naneoilnr rnieadg, and it has been dmteucnoed in amcadiec sduetis. ... Some rseahrcrees bilveee taht for mnay polepe, tihs sytle of rneaidg is bnngiieng to idnave our abiltiy to dael wtih otehr mdeuims. 'We're seinpndg so mcuh tmie tincohug, psuinhg, liinnkg, sinlolcrg and junipmg toughrh txet taht wehn we sit dwon wtih a nveol, yuor daliy hbatis of jpmuing, ccilnikg, lniikng is jsut iareingnd in you,' syas Anerdw Dloiln."

  • by Leuf (918654) on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @03:15AM (#46691613)
    All that moving and whatnot gets adapted real quick with NoScript. I can still read books just fine but looking at cnn.com without NoScript I can't do.
  • by drolli (522659) on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @03:18AM (#46691629) Journal

    get over it.

    I am a fast reader (>400words per minute), and when i skim a screenful of information or code I exceed this significantly.

    There are some things which you need to understand:

    * Reading may be fast, but comprehending may be tricky. If a page of code contains a tricky algorithm, it can take a week

    * Classic literature (for which my speed drops below 200 word per minute) is not structured for being read quickly. If may be structured to model a thought process, or even a pattern of spoken language. Take your time to read it, and accept it.

    * Literature often has dialogues, or reflections of dialogues. keepign two viepoints necessarily disrupts your reading speed. Books which have a lot of decription of though processes or viewpoints of characters contain more information. The more brilliant of these books manage to refer indirectly to the processes and let you infer a large part of what is going on (e.g. "Midnights Chrildren"). Obviously the limiting factor is not reading, but understanding.

    • by axlash (960838)

      "Reading may be fast, but comprehending may be tricky."

      But what really is reading without comprehension? That's just like moving my eyeballs across a page and having my brain register black glyphs on a white background.

      • by drolli (522659)

        Well. In very structured matter (e.g. scientific articles) you can actually skip the introduction if you are from the field. In code you can skip organizational code which dont need to understand. And in newspaper articles you can often turn of the brain for 80% of the article if you already know the context,

    • by rolfwind (528248) on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @03:51AM (#46691747)

      I am a fast reader (>400words per minute), and when i skim a screenful of information or code I exceed this significantly.

      I'm always skeptical of people clamining superhigh reading speeds. I mean, yeah I can skim easy text to and just "float" above it, but what about when comprehension and understanding are required; like when you read a biology or math text and other such material you haven't encountered before? What good does reading speed help there if it goes in one eye and out the other, so to speak??

      • by RDW (41497) on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @04:12AM (#46691827)

        "I took a speed reading course where you run your finger down the middle of the page and was able to read 'War and Peace' in twenty minutes. It's about Russia."

      • Merely reading at 400 words per minute is trivial. Reading *some kinds* of materials at 400 words per minute is a problem. I guess Amdahl's law is sort of universal.
      • by drolli (522659) on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @05:14AM (#46692041) Journal

        400 Words per minute is by no way "super-high".

        From http://www.forbes.com/sites/br... [forbes.com]

        Third-grade students = 150 words per minute (wpm)
        Eight grade students = 250
        Average college student = 450
        Average âoehigh level execâ = 575
        Average college professor = 675
        Speed readers = 1,500
        World speed reading champion = 4,700
        Average adult: 300 wpm

        From my education i am roughly at "Average College Professor". And 400 wpm was a conservative estimation of mine.

        You could ask my colleagues about me regularly correcting semantic and syntactic mistakes in pages of code which i never saw before in minutes without running the program.

        You could ask my boss about me analyzing typical presentations in about 5-10seconds per slide and yet remembering more of the specific content than people who sit for half an hour in front of it and never even penetrate the surface.

        You could ask my coworkers about me reading abstracts of scientific papers in less than 5seconds and classifying them as interesting or not (did that when i did a group-internal rss feed on our topic).

        • by clickety6 (141178)

          Average Ãoe high level exec à = 575

          From my education i am roughly at "Average College Professor".

          regularly correcting semantic and syntactic mistakes in pages of code which i never saw before

          did that when i did a group-internal rss

          Doesn't seem to work for spelling mistakes and typos though ;)

          • Average Ãoe high level exec à = 575

            Doesn't seem to work for spelling mistakes and typos though ;)

            To be fair the high level exec thing looks more like Slashdot barfing at Unicode, it was copied and pasted from the linked website.

          • by drolli (522659)

            Wow. I presume another English native speaker picking on spelling mistakes in a quickly typed comment in a foreign language?

      • I remember reading Rudin's little analysis book and reading it on the principle that it was appropriate to stay on each page for about 30 minutes, or until all proofs were remembered and could be reproduced at will, following a recommendation of some famous mathematician whose name I can't recall (but for some reason I think that it was Hardy or Littlewood).

        There's also apparently such a recommendation in Axler's linear algebra book, but there the recommendation is that one should take no less than an hour
      • 400 wpm is not high. Last speedreading test I took I hit 6-something. And I'm not that fast a reader.

        But yes, that's English text, conveying possibly new ideas and/or facts. When I read a math text I don't achieve that speed.

        I do wonder whether it's new paradigms that build on one another or the equations that make a difference. I have a few old Calc books around, maybe I should try speedreading them.

        But in general, you can retain what is written if it's the kind of writing in a newspaper.

        I can rip throu

    • We need RSVP. RSVP allows for reading at 400wpm with full comprehension, 800wpm with full comprehension after 1 hour of training. 1000wpm is a normal target, and speeds as high as 1200-1600wpm are doable. Some modified algorithms have produced 1800+wpm reading speeds, including Spritz and Sprint Reader methods where they align based on word length and provide context pauses. I've envisioned some more advanced techniques myself for the interleaving of information and context sensitivity, for example to

  • by linuxguy (98493) on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @03:21AM (#46691643) Homepage

    I have been doing this since usenet days. I got hooked to newsgroups early. I was about 18 years old and this was 1990. I have not been able to read ordinary books since then. I can read technical books just fine. The kind that pack a lot of information. I have tried several times, but have utterly failed to read fiction. Something inside me tells me that I am wasting my time. Not that I don't waste time. I do that a lot. I watch plenty of movies, TV, hang out with friends and family etc. etc. and I "skim the Internet" a tonne. I have a good job, wife and two kids. It is not entirely clear to me how this "problem" is hurting me.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I have a very similar thing. I can read a technical book all day long and not get bored or annoyed. With a fiction books it is different, I just feel I'm wasting my time and I can't understand people who go through many books a week. I've been using the Internet since I was very young and have always read a lot online. I remember in school I could never get into fiction and would always do my book reports on factual books and loan factual books from the library. I don't feel like I'm being hurt either, my l
    • by Dan East (318230)

      I have the exact same "history" as you do (18 years old in 1990), and starting when I was 16 I got into dialing up BBSs and reading lots of messages in that kind of format. Then of course on to usenet and email in college and prolific reading of thousands of messages a week. My ability to read "books" hasn't been affected at all. I don't know if it was because I was already a prolific reader (I read the Hardy Boys books as fast as I could get my mom to buy them for me when I was younger - she made the mi

    • by Pollux (102520)

      It is not entirely clear to me how this "problem" is hurting me.

      George Burns was believed to have smoked 10-15 cigars every day of his life for about 70 years. He died at the age of 100. I'm sure it's not entirely clear to him how this "problem" of smoking was hurting him. (And he commonly joked about doctors advising him to stop smoking, often with a punchline like, "And the last doctor died 20 years ago.")

      George Burns is just one anecdote, and one not representative of the common whole. The question w

    • by nblender (741424)

      I had to check the username to make sure I didn't post that... Except I got hooked on Usenet in 1985... But alas... I haven't "read" a book in probably 15 years... I do miss those days.. My wife and I used to vacation at a cabin on a lake... We'd pack a bin-box full of books and plow through the entire box in a week... Then I developed hobbies, we had a kid, bought our own cottage, and now if I'm not working on something, I feel like I'm wasting time... I'm trying to re-learn how to relax and hope to be ab

  • PARSE ERROR:
    "Michael S. Rosenwald was so disgusted with myself.'
    The brain was not designed for reading Andrew Dillon."

    Wait, what??? Could you please write shorter paragraphs?

  • Are you old enough to remember this

    http://grooveshark.com/#!/s/Ev... [grooveshark.com]

    I did the speed reading course when I was 14, still couldn't read Shakespeare, ah well.

  • skim, reading, brain, wolf, circuit
  • Designed? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wonkey_monkey (2592601) on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @03:47AM (#46691733) Homepage

    The brain was not designed for reading

    It wasn't designed for anything.

    And who's to say the invention of writing hasn't already had some impact on human evolution? I know it hasn't been long in the grand scheme of things, but moths didn't take long to adapt to the industrial revolution.

    there are no genes for reading like there are for language or vision

    Well, there are genes which have an impact on language development if faulty or missing, but are they necessarily "genes for language"?

    • Re:Designed? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kruach aum (1934852) on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @04:16AM (#46691837)

      Moths also had a much harsher selection pressure. Maybe we would see similar results if we killed anyone over the age of 10 who couldn't read at a 12th grade level.

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by gargleblast (683147)

      The brain was not designed for reading

      It wasn't designed for anything.

      Beg pardon but the brain was designed for survival of the genotype, just like the rest of the organism. It just wasn't designed by who-you-think-it-wasn't.

      There are genes which have an impact on language development if faulty or missing, but are they necessarily "genes for language"?

      You betcha. A rather well-established survival strategy among humans is spoken language. A newer and less-well-established strategy is written language. It's those new things that undergo the most rapid natural selection. So yeah, "genes for language".

    • digital brains with new circuits

      Frakkin Cylon Toasters

  • That word doesn't mean what you seem to think it means.
  • by Ozoner (1406169) on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @03:57AM (#46691773)

    I notice this as well.

    I enjoy recreational reading very much, but notice that I must make a definite effort to slow down so that I better appreciate the book.

  • by Rudisaurus (675580) on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @04:09AM (#46691813)
    I read Hesse's "The Glass Bead Game" long before the Internet even existed, and it was completely fucking opaque even back then.
  • by go-nix.ca (581096) on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @04:12AM (#46691829)
    It depends on the book. I for one started reading Arthur C Clarke's Rama series, and I couldn't put it down.
  • by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @04:36AM (#46691915) Homepage

    It's taking over the brains of those who participate 24/7 in, for lack of a better word, might be called the Twittersphere. I'm not condemning Twitter in general, but the entire weltanschauung of the situation that people like Maryanne Wolfe live in. Anyone who doesn't exist in this false world (i.e. most of humanity) doesn't have this experience at all. They're able to read deep texts, and you bet your ass they'll be ready to supplant these feeble minds in the future.

    The really scary part is that these Twitter minds lack the ability to see outside themselves. If it happens to me, then it happens to all of humanity. After all, all the people I know are in the Twittersphere, and that's the whole world...or at least the world worth knowing. Because if Maryanne Wolfe can't do it, that means the human brain is changing. Sad...but then again I find myself understanding why civilizations that have everything fall. It comes from taking it all for granted and neglecting the first principles that got us here...like realizing the world has an independent existence outside of you and your little buddies.

    • by ReeceTarbert (893612) on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @05:10AM (#46692029)

      The really scary part is that these Twitter minds lack the ability to see outside themselves. If it happens to me, then it happens to all of humanity.

      Worse yet, the article uses the plural "researchers" but quotes none except Mrs Wolf who, in turn, is just relating her own experience rather than any factual research. Examples:

      Researchers are working to get a clearer sense of the differences [...]

      Before the Internet, the brain read mostly in linear ways [...] researchers said.

      Some researchers believe that for many people [...]

      Researchers say that the differences between text and screen reading should be studied more thoroughly [...]

      But, hey, who needs to refer to any research when you can fill an article with anecdotal evidence from Claire Handscombe, Brandon Ambrose, and Ramesh Kurup? I mean, that should plenty to convince anyone, no? ;-)

      RT

    • by argStyopa (232550)

      Then again, everything is relative.

      Let's remember that the OP is a person who would willingly pick up and read The Glass Bead Game in the first place; this isn't light, popular reading - not like it was a choice "Do I read Twilight or something from Hermann Hesse?"

      For the twitterverse that you comment on, this may sound patronizing but: these morons wouldn't ever have been readers ANYWAY. Ever. It's not like the twitter-morph has prevented them from being deep-thinkers.

  • Maybe we are adapting to skimming, filtering, and jumping from source to source of information.

    Given that this is the way the (modern?) real world works, I don't see it as a problem.

    The only drawback is the sentimental loss of no longer being able to sit down and be completely focused on a single thing for any length of time. Whilst this may be a shame, the fact is that such an activity these days is purely recreational and probably impractical for most people anyway. Time has moved on and so should we.

    • Maybe we are adapting to skimming, filtering, and jumping from source to source of information.
      Given that this is the way the (modern?) real world works, I don't see it as a problem.
      The only drawback is the sentimental loss of no longer being able to sit down and be completely focused on a single thing for any length of time. Whilst this may be a shame, the fact is that such an activity these days is purely recreational and probably impractical for most people anyway. Time has moved on and so should we.

      Amassing more data from diverse sources is in no way superior to gaining deep insight/understanding by focusing on, and thinking through a particular topic. Have you ever had an argument over the internet with someone who doesn't even understand the fundamentals of what he's arguing about, whose response is to blindly regurgitate what others have correctly or wrongly posted elsewhere, whose stock reply is "But this website says..."? That is a product of this skimming culture.

      When you skim sources, do you re

  • by Misagon (1135) on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @05:07AM (#46692021)

    I was surprised when I was a kid back 25 years ago, that my dad could skim through text very fast.
    He worked as a journalist, and as such he was used to skimming through a lot of text to find the good bits that he could use as leads and sources for his articles.

    The difference to the Internet today, is just that more people are exposed to larger amounts of many different types of text, just like "text-workers" like my dad was back then.

    • by geekmux (1040042)

      I was surprised when I was a kid back 25 years ago, that my dad could skim through text very fast. He worked as a journalist, and as such he was used to skimming through a lot of text to find the good bits that he could use as leads and sources for his articles.

      The difference to the Internet today, is just that more people are exposed to larger amounts of many different types of text, just like "text-workers" like my dad was back then.

      No the real difference between "back then" and today was the fact that your Dad's requirement to skim through text was limited to his job.

      Now you come home and you're inundated with 400 cable channels, of which there are a dozen of each for sports, news, music, and movies.

      You open up your email, and you're bombarded with targeted ads and spam, along with two dozen emails to go through. And that's before you even start digging into your social media and its entire skimming culture.

      It is this very hyperexcit

  • by John Pfeiffer (454131) on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @05:16AM (#46692045) Homepage

    I've always been able to switch it on and off just fine, even after spending the vast majority of the past 15 years sitting at a computer, on the internet.

    I skim through things at great speed when they don't really interest me, or I'm mostly looking for specific pieces of information, but it's never prevented me from being able to change gears and linearly read something...

    And I'm not by any stretch of the imagination a patient person (or particularly disciplined, for that matter) so it's certainly not because I'm making a conscious effort *not* to skim when I read linearly.

  • It's not just reading.


    I think I only ever sit through a movie from beginning to end at the cinema. I can't remember the last time I watched something on a computer without dragging the progress-bar cursor past a bit I found less engaging.
  • I was skimming through some blogs the other day & realized I hadn't actually read any of them. No great loss, they were just blog posts. Another thing I've noticed is my book consumption appears to be lower than it was once. No I did not rtfa but I did carefully read the summary, carefully. It took direct effort to do it. All said & done, I am still reading complete books & now I am planning to make more of on effort to take more time to read.
  • Yeah, me too I would have chosen to read a second time The Glass Bead Game if I wanted to make that point, or maybe Musil’s The Man Without Qualities. Don’t misunderstand me, I love Hesse and I read it all, ten years ago. Here is the flaw: anyone here used to read a lot and still reading a lot of novels or essays would have suffer attention troubles trying to get through that book, as “challenging” it may be, if his or her actual interests and questionings don’t merge with thes
  • Cognition ordinarily normalizes fragmented images, resolves meaning, and transfers information of nature between intelligences and surroundings. All reading is "skimming". We recoginze words as collections of letters not individual letters, considering the beginning and ends of the words more strongly, and this leads to our inability to see spelling mistakes easily, as in the second and last words of this sentance. The slower you "skim" the deeper the information you may be able to extract. There are pat

  • by nitehawk214 (222219) on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @09:06AM (#46692947)

    ... then skipped the rest of the bullshit.

  • Ironically, I couldn't finish this post. I think this is what tl:dr was created for.
  • by Danathar (267989) on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @09:25AM (#46693117) Journal

    I've been ADHD since the 8th grade in the 80's. I simply can't read a book without skimming and turning pages when I come upon a section that seems boring. Since moving to unabridged audiobooks I'm actually hearing the whole novel.

  • The brain was not designed for reading and there are no genes for reading like there are for language or vision.

    Nor was it designed for high speed, non-linear scanning of electronic data. It would seem that all this article is really saying is that the brain adapts to the input stimulus it receives. We already knew that.

  • I just skimmed the Slashdot description it looks interesting. It looks really interesting I'll come back to read it later ;) /sarcasm & irony.
  • At the time, one of the most popular magazines was "Reader's Digest", which edited long articles into short three-page summaries. They did a pretty good job of it. They would often have a "condensed book" as well.

    After reading the Reader's Digest versions of articles, though, it was difficult to go back to long-form reading. There's really nothing new here!

  • TLDR

There's a whole WORLD in a mud puddle! -- Doug Clifford

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