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.
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.
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!