General Question

shared3's avatar

Does photoreading work?

Asked by shared3 (921points) January 25th, 2009

I;ve read many conflicting sources of information. I normally wouldn’t believe the crap that many of these sources espouse but Steve Pavlina recommends him and I hear good stuff about him…and he says himself that he normally doesn’t recommend many products…

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16 Answers

amanderveen's avatar

This is the first I’ve heard of it and I’d be curious myself to find out whether it actually works. I am skeptical that it could quite live up to what they’re advertising, but then I’m generally skeptical of advertising claims anyway.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

I see it has the “As Seen On TV” logo…

Perchik's avatar

NASA study on photoreading summarized :
In January 2000 Dr. Danielle S. McNamara submitted a preliminary report to the NASA Ames Research Center on photoreading. McNamara enrolled in a PhotoReading workshop under the tutelage of Paul Scheele who, in three years, had trained about 150 individuals in PhotoReading. The trainee spent two months learning the PhotoReading technique. The two participants named in the study were ”(a) the PhotoReading trainee who participated ina two-day photoreading workshop, and (b) the photoreading expert [earlier referenced in this study as Paul Scheele] who provided the PhotoReading workshop.” (McNamara 4). The study design included two normal pretests, followed by parallel versions of five reading tests employing the PhotoReading technique. One test was the Nelson Reading Comprehension Test (forms G and H) and the Verbal Reasoning section of the MCAT. The other two tests were generated by the experimenter. This study tests only difficult expository texts because “PhotoReading has been claimed to be particularly effective for this type of text” (McNamara 5). The texts used here involve subjects like physiology, perception, and biology. Each question from these texts were generated around a single idea or sentence within each text. According to McNamara “The information in the text that is targeted by the question generally requires little prior knowledge and little active processing of the text to understand” (McNamara 6). The results of the study generally follow the pattern that PhotoReading and normal reading require a similar amount of time to complete. For example, the expert (Scheele) scored 37 of 38 possible questions correct with normal reading taking 19.43 minutes to do so. Then he took a similar test after PhotoReading the passage and scored a 38 out of 38 possible questions correct in a time of 18.13 minutes. McNamara took the same test, and scored a 92% both times. However, photoreading took 21.30 minutes whereas regular reading took 15.80 minutes. These results show that photoreading can work, but they do not support Scheele’s 25,000 words per minute claims. In a text about perception, Scheele took 8.82 minutes to read the text using normal reading. Then, he “photoread” the text in 0.87 minutes and proceeded to read the text for another 8.12 minutes before he completed the process. In the text involving normal reading he answered three questions correctly out of eight. Photoreading, he scored only 1 out of 8 correctly. These results do not support Scheele’s assertions that Photoreading help one study faster and with greater comprehension than with ordinary reading techniques. To conclude the study, McNamara noted that, “In terms of words per minute (wpm) spent reading, there was no difference between normal reading (M = 114 wpm) and PhotoReading (M=112 wpm)” (10). So why is it that so many people tout photoreading? In her conclusion, McNamara states that, “One aspect of the PhotoReading technique is that it leaves the reader with a false sense of confidence.” (12).
From Wikipedia

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

@Perchik, I read the whole post, without photoreading, and with ADD, which causes me to wander when I have to read long passages. From what I read, I conclude the correct answer to be C, “bunk.”

Perchik's avatar

Haha yeah. I read the whole thing.. It basically says “the time spent reading is a lot less, but then the pre and post reading work made it basically the same time as reading.. but the subjects comprehended more when they just read something, instead of photoreading.”

shared3's avatar

But NASA could be wrong…they could have not taken it seriously and thus did not perform the experiment well…

Perchik's avatar

@shared3 Judging by their report and description of the experiment it sounds like the were quite thorough and serious in their research. The fact that NASA even did the study in the first place shows that they took it seriously. From previous experience I tend to trust results presented by NASA>

shared3's avatar

Cool, thanks guys!

lifeflame's avatar

gosh… in this age of information overload, I think there’s value in reading books slowly and really tasting it. I can see it being useful for people who have to cram lots of info (e.g., lawyers, med students) but seriously, I think our cutting edge lies in our ability to select and reason, rather than to just eat data.

Trustinglife's avatar

gosh… in this age of information overload, I think there’s value in reading lots of having the capacity to read lots of books quickly.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

@Trustinglife, I personally think for that reason, that it is an age of information overload, that the capacity to formulate accurate questions, analyze information and have research skills is far more important. Retaining information is less important than being able to retrieve the correct information and recognizing it when you see it.

Trustinglife's avatar

Well said. You prove your own point!

Jeruba's avatar

I wouldn’t go near it myself,

Zen_Again's avatar

And I’d do whatever ^ says. * sigh *

Response moderated (Spam)
tbirdsnlincolns's avatar

The preliminary report submitted by Dr. McNamara is highly inaccurate and was in fact hidden from the developer of PhotoReading, Paul Scheele so he could never address it.

You will note that the researcher is also the test subject. In true research this invalidated the work immediately.

The PhotoReading instructor refused to participate in all of the experiment under normal research, which also would null and void the experiment.

If you can class this as research then you will find 1000’s of people have conduct their own experiment in similar veins on the PhotoReading discussion forum. The Nasa paper has also been discussed on the forum.

I have investigated numerous brain research articles since learning to PhotoReading myself and found independent evidence that the PhotoReading step is indeed a capability of the brain. It’s also evidenced by the technique of Direct Learning.

For people who look for as much proof as you can find that PhotoReading doesn’t work, mere words will never convince you otherwise.

I can point you to an equal number of documents that prove that reading doesn’t work and one cannot learn to read, because 49% of the population cannot read the instructions on a medicine bottle. Yet, that does not explain how 51% of the population can read. There is no proof that anyone can read. Just because you’re reading this is not proof. It’s a skill you opted to give time to learning.

PhotoReading is something you do. To learn it, you must try it and see. Same as those people who can sleep on nails, walk on coal, break bricks with their bare hands. Seeing them do it is not proof that you can do it. Research does not prove that the masses can do it. The only thing that can conclusively prove whether you can PhotoRead or not, is if you conduct your own experiment. It won’t prove that everyone can learn PhotoReading, it will prove whether you can or cannot.

The PhotoReading Seminar has a 98%-99% satisfaction rate, and the homestudy course has about a 94% satisfaction rate. Personally, I first learned PhotoReading when I was back in college, and within the first couple weeks of using it, I saw my study time was almost cut in half, and new material we covered in class came together significantly faster for me.

It’s okay to be skeptical. However, skepticism unchecked can prevent you moving towards your goal.

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