Why do we read so slow?


Why cant we just look at a page and read it all through instantly.

In: 0

The human brain didn’t evolve to read, reading and writing came later, so the brain has to translate scribbles on a page into thoughts, what is surprising is that we can read as fast as we can.

Seeing isn’t comprehending. If you look at a photograph, you can “take it in” in less than a second, but just like with reading, you actually have to spend time and pay attention if you want to understand small details in it.

Additionally, our brains are hard-wired to interpret things you see in a photograph. We can train ourselves to see meaning in words, but reading still isn’t something that evolution has had time to optimize for.

I am, or was, FAST. You still have to convert the characters to meaning in your language of choice.
I have seen systems designed to teach you to read a line at a time, I didn’t need them so don’t know if they work. But a page sized chunk, even recorded in your head, would still require time to convert to characters then words then meaning.

Humans can instantly understand about 5-7 things. That’s our brain capacity at a time. We can memorize about 5-7 digit numbers, etc.

We can “chunk” things to make them 1 thing. So while we can remember 7 random letters, we can remember 7 words.

So if you look at a sign or poster you can read about 5-7 words instantly. But only if you can see all of them well.

Our eyesight is only really good in a very small area of focus. The rest of our vision is pretty blurry. We don’t notice it because we are paying attention to where we are focused.

So you cannot read an entire page at once, or even 7 words at once, because your eyes can only focus on one or two words at a time in a book.

You read instantly. Everyone does. You cannot look at a word without reading it, but in a sentence, your brain has to process all these words together as a whole to deliver the message. This is why some people read faster. They simply are able to process words into thoughts, ideas, and meanings faster.

Edit: looks like many people did not know you cannot look at a word without reading it. I want you to open up a random book and look at a word without reading it. It is instant, unless you are illiterate.