It's not that meaningful to assign a single number, true. I gave my speed for "normal" text--comments, blogs, newspaper articles, "light" books (business/best-sellers), fiction (if I have to/feel like reading it quickly). When I read scientific papers, the speed drops considerably until I am used to the terms used in the field.

Thanks a lot for that comment though, I have less incentive to try training it further now... I am pretty surprised that anything could decrease significantly from trying to train it though. I would suspect o... (read more)

One possible explanation is simply awareness.

If you naturally develop a technique, you may not be consciously aware of it at all. But take some training, and all of a sudden your conscious brain is butting in going "this is the way to do it".

And, well, your CPU is going to be less efficient than a well-optimised RPU (Reading Processing Unit)

0Desrtopa8yI can only speculate, but I would guess that the techniques she was taught in the speed reading class were less efficient than whatever she was already doing without thinking about it, so she regressed towards the average speed for a person with speed reading training, which was lower than where she started. She said that her reading speed decreased noticeably while reading similar text in similar situations, although of course it's possible that she was experiencing selective perception.

How is your mind different from everyone else's?

by Kaj_Sotala 1 min read5th Dec 2011267 comments


Partially to help reduce the typical mind fallacy and partially because I'm curious, I'm thinking about writing either an essay or a book with plenty of examples about ways by which human minds differ. From commonly known and ordinary, like differences in sexual orientation, to the rare and seemingly impossible, like motion blindness.

To do this, I need to start collecting examples. In what ways does your mind differ from what you think is the norm for most people?

I'm particularly interested in differences - small or large - that you didn't realize for a long time, automatically assuming that everyone was like you in that regard. It can even be something as trivial as always having conceptualized the passing of years as a visual timeline, and then finding out that not everyone does so. I'm also interested in links to blog posts where people talk about their own mental peculiarities, even if you didn't write them yourself. Also books and academic articles that you might think could be relevant.

Some of the content that I'm thinking about including are cultural differences in various things as recounted in the WEIRD article, differences in sexual and romantic orientation (such as mono/poly), differences in the ability to recover from setbacks, extroversion vs. introversion in terms of gaining/losing energy from social activity, differences in visualization ability, various cognitive differences ranging from autism to synesthesia to an inability to hear music in particular, differences in moral intuitions, differences in the way people think (visual vs. verbal vs. conceptual vs. something that I'm not aware of yet), differences in thinking styles (social/rational, reflectivity vs. impulsiveness) and various odd brain damage cases.

If you find this project interesting, consider spreading the link to this post or resharing my Google Plus update about it. Also, if you don't want to reply in public, feel free to send me a private message.