Spritzing – Sprinting through reading

After we discussed object recognition and letter recognition in class, I was reminded of an article I had read a year or so ago on Facebook about speed reading. I remembered going through this stimulation where words were flashed at you one by one creating a sentence, and one letter of the word was red (the rest of the text was black). From what I could remember, the article asserted that it could increase your reading speed to ~1000wpm (roughly 1000 words per minute) through using this version of Rapid Serial Visual Presentation (RSVP). I had a strong feeling that this phenomenon would connect greatly to our in-class discussions.

Read faster

I attempted to find the original article in order to write my blog post, and was surprised to see that “Spritzing” is already taking over. Since this article emerged, the latest version of the Huffington Post has adopted Spritz, which allows you to read an article using the Spritz technology and method in order to decrease time spent reading. Other partnerships include, but are not limited to, Samsung, Intel, HP, Cengage Learning, Financial Times, and Harvard University. Spritzing has also been featured by over 1,000 publications across the globe, many including Fox Business, CNBC, The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal (http://www.spritzinc.com/press-gallery/). They have also developed software to download on your computer for you to “spritz” (Spritzlet). There are also apps you can download on your phone for Spritz. The Spritz webpage has an application where you can “test yourself”, seeing how well Spritz works for you (you can try multiple reading speeds, seeing which works best for you). Spritz is available in English, Spanish, French, German, Russian and Korean. The Spritz website itself has only been recently copyrighted, making it clear how new this particular technology is.

I believed prior to reading information on the Spritz website that “spritzing” would have a lot to do with cognitive studies regarding letter detection and recognition, involving perhaps word superiority, visual search, and overall increasing accuracy and efficiency. It turns out, I had the right idea. On the website, the science behind Spritz(ing) is discussed. According to the website, the traditional style of reading (reading text in a line, moving your eyes sequentially from one word to the next) is inefficient. Each word has an ORP, or an optimal recognition point, and the ORP for each word (depending on word length) is different. During reading, your eye moves from ORP to the next ORP (eye movement = saccades), reading comprehension and retention then following the processing of the word for meaning and context. This takes a significant amount of time to do, with 80% of the time spent just moving your eyes word to word, seeking out the ORPs. Spritz highlights the ORP instead, and places the word in the right ORP spot, making it so your eye does not have to move in order to process the word. This decreases the time spent searching for these ORPs (decreasing visual search) and thereby increases your reading speed.

word_positioning_blog

The following video demonstrates the difference in eye movements (saccades) between traditional reading, Rapid Serial Visual Presentation, and Spritzing.

I honestly found all of this very interesting. I liked how the website discussed the science behind “spritzing” on its webpage, making it easy to understand the processes behind its application. I tested myself however, and although it did increase my reading speed, my reading comprehension and retention decreased a bit. I could understand what I was reading, but its 40 minutes later now and I barely remember what I read (although I do remember the general idea). Spritz seems like a useful way to save time in the long run when reading for fun, or for the general idea of things. However, if you are reading to remember (*cough cough* for cognitive psychology), I do not recommend “spritzing”. Then again, I did not test myself at every wpm level. Perhaps if I did I could find one that is just right!

http://www.spritzinc.com/

2 thoughts on “Spritzing – Sprinting through reading

  1. Shawn

    I was definitely going to do this one next month! I started doing this a few weeks ago and find it quite helpful, though my eyes just aren’t used to it. I too loved the fact that they actually presented their studies and it was an instant draw for me. I would be interested in seeing if there has been any other independant research done to see it’s effectiveness. *research Idea*

    1. Simone

      Hi,
      here’s a study I’ve just got published on Spritz:
      http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563214007663

      Abstract:
      In the era of small screens, traditional reading (i.e. left-to-right, top-to-bottom) is called into question and rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) represents one of the main alternatives. RSVP consists of displaying in sequential order one or more words at a time, thus minimizing saccades and eye blinks. Recently, a RSVP application has received a lot of media attention: it is the case of Spritz. According to Spritz’s developers, the elimination of saccades should reduce visual fatigue and improve comprehension. In this study, we had people read on a computer screen a selected part of a book either with Spritz or in the traditional way. Results seem to contradict these claims. The fact that Spritz suppresses parafoveal processing and regressions (i.e. rereadings of words) negatively affected literal comprehension. Furthermore, the important reduction of eye blinks observed for Spritz might contribute to the increase of visual fatigue.

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