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Thread: Reading speed and IQ

  1. #1
    Registered User Manchegan's Avatar
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    Reading speed and IQ

    So i was looking at the "what we read in August" thread and was amazed by how many difficult books some folks read in one month. At first, I chalked it up to people having more free time than I, but then I remembered reading less high brow fiction in just a day or two (ender's game, da vinci code, patterson novels).

    So now I'm thinking that I'm intelligent enough to digest mid level fiction quickly and that many of you are intelligent enough to read the masters at the same speed.

    So if it's not too personal, I'd like to ask what some of your IQs are. I just want to know where I stand. And since I asked, don't feel like you're being a braggart.
    This is the comic I write: http://www.snmcomics.com/
    It's where crude toilet humor somehow meets snobby literature allusions.

  2. #2
    But is IQ directly linked to reading speed? I'm not so sure. You also have to consider the balance between speed and comprehension. There's little point in racing through books just for the sake of it. For me reading literature is about the quality, and not necessarily the quantity. Both in a sense of what you get out of the individual book and the entire process of reading itself.

    Personally, I would rather read one book of quality, and nothing else the whole year, than a 1000 trashy novels. This has nothing to do with my IQ, but my tastes.

    However, increasing the speed rate and maintaining (or even improving) the comprehension rate is quite workable. I would suggest getting hold of a couple of speed reading books if you are really interested in the matter.

    As for my IQ I really wouldn't know as I've never taken a proper test. I'm not all that sure that they are that much of an accurate judge of true intelligence anyway. I think true intelligence can't really be quantified. Though if I did take a test I don't think I would get an offer from Menza, let's put it that way, but that certainly doesn't worry me.

  3. #3
    Registered User kiki1982's Avatar
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    I agree with Neely. It's not the quantity, but the quality that matters.

    My father reads 100s of pages in one evening, but as soon as the book is finished, he can't remember what happened.

    My mothr reads very slowly but she still remembers whole stories after years and years and can remember every single book she read, at least what it was about.

    For me personally the reading speed depends on my mood. If I have an overload, I cannot read. If I am out of the habit, I cannot read. If I've had to concentrate to much (as that is the cse now as I am trying to learn Russian), I cannot read. Over all, I don't think I'm a fast reader, but not so very slow either.

    I don't think IQ matters too much. I have taken different tests on the internet an one made a staggering 131 of it and others 119 or around that, so they are not really consistent. A serious one I have never taken, but for what it's worth...
    One has to laugh before being happy, because otherwise one risks to die before having laughed.

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    Voice of Chaos & Anarchy
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    There is no particular relationship between reading speed and IQ, and there is a trade-off betwen speed and comprehension. There was a time when I read faster than I can speak, and that was fine for light fiction. I slowed down, because I ran out of things that I especially wanted to read, and I found that I missed the subtleties when I read fast. Reading slowly gives one the chance to find connections in the text and with the rest of the world.

    That is from the perspective of a member of Mensa.

  5. #5
    Registered User kiki1982's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterL View Post
    There is no particular relationship between reading speed and IQ, and there is a trade-off betwen speed and comprehension. There was a time when I read faster than I can speak, and that was fine for light fiction. I slowed down, because I ran out of things that I especially wanted to read, and I found that I missed the subtleties when I read fast. Reading slowly gives one the chance to find connections in the text and with the rest of the world.
    That is exactly my opinion. Reading fast looses you all profounder meaning.
    One has to laugh before being happy, because otherwise one risks to die before having laughed.

    "Je crains [...] que l'âme ne se vide à ces passe-temps vains, et que le fin du fin ne soit la fin des fins." (Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Acte III, Scène VII)

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    somewhere else Helga's Avatar
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    I agree with Neely, and I think it's different between books, some just take me a few hours but other a lot longer. Now I have taken an IQ test with a psychoanalyst recommended by my school but I don't think that it's important I got 118, and another thing, are the same standards everywhere in the world?
    I hope death is joyful, and I hope I'll never return -Frida Khalo

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    Our wee Olympic swimmer Janine's Avatar
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    I am a slow reader, extremely slow. In gradeschool, I was told I had a high IQ. I have no idea now, what that really means. I put little stock in IQ tests...too many variables. I don't think the two things are connected at all. I know that what I do read, I consider to be 'quality' material and I believe my comprehension is very good. I attribute that to the fact, that I do read slowly; often repeating some passages, to better understand the subtlies, as PeterL has pointed out. I would fully agree with what he wrote about this subject. It's not quanity but quality that counts.
    "It's so mysterious, the land of tears."

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  8. #8
    Inquisitive bloke ClaesGefvenberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neely View Post
    But is IQ directly linked to reading speed? I'm not so sure.
    Nor am I. Now... We have had previous discussions about speed reading, and I suggest a look at:



    /Claes
    Hanlon's Razor: "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity."

  9. #9
    Pièce de Résistance Scheherazade's Avatar
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    It's got to be a negative correlation between the reading speed and IQ... I am kind of a slow reader.

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    "It is not that I am mad; it is only that my head is different from yours.”
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  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    I am a slow reader, extremely slow. In gradeschool, I was told I had a high IQ. I have no idea now, what that really means. I put little stock in IQ tests...too many variables. I don't think the two things are connected at all. I know that what I do read, I consider to be 'quality' material and I believe my comprehension is very good. I attribute that to the fact, that I do read slowly; often repeating some passages, to better understand the subtlies, as PeterL has pointed out. I would fully agree with what he wrote about this subject. It's not quanity but quality that counts.
    Hey, it was me that said that.

    Though I do find it interesting that you read slow and maintain a lot of comprehension, which is what Kiki was saying about his mum.

    When it comes to comprehension one of the MAJOR factors that affects me in a negative way is when I have something on my mind, I just don't take in much at all sometimes, to the point that I put down the book because it is pointless. I am reading the words but not the meaning, I drift through the the book. That is usually when I am stressed about something, stress is not good. But hey, I have got a new job today with far less stess , so I am a happy monkey!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by ClaesGefvenberg View Post
    Nor am I. Now... We have had previous discussions about speed reading, and I suggest a look at:



    /Claes
    Yes I will read those tomorrow when I have more time. Seriously though, I find speed reading a very interesting subject. I'm not talking about a page a second nonsense, but just general increases in speed and comprehension, and the balance between them.

    Even so, the pleasure of reading good literature cares little for no such concepts.

  11. #11
    Registered User Desolation's Avatar
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    I agree with what other's say about losing comprehension and meaning due to reading too quickly...Lately I've actually been struggling to read much more slowly and carefully rather than quickly and lazily as I have been. However, I'm sure that there are many people that can read quickly and deeply.

  12. #12
    the beloved: Gladys's Avatar
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    I have a son who read soon after his second birthday; and read fluently for meaning. By his sixth, he had read many classics, including The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion more than once. His reading speed had far outstripped mine and his comprehension and writing ability was also exceptional.

    Late in high-school, aged fifteen, I noticed that he seemed incapable of understanding major nuances in plays and novels set for Literature. We eventually discovered that he read these so fast by deliberately omitting, perhaps, 20% of the words in every line of text. He assumed everyone read so!

    Always a slow reader myself, reading speed and comprehension are highest when I'm enjoying the book. And I read every word: is this unusual?

  13. #13
    Registered User Like_Herod's Avatar
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    I think that as you read more your speed and comprehension will naturally increase to some extent - at least I think this has been the case for me. I went a while without reading much and when I started seriously reading again I struggled for a while, not always understanding things as well as I'd have liked to. However, after making it a habit to read more often I found that by increasing my vocabulary and instinctively learning to recognise patterns of words my speed increased to at least some extent.

    I do also think that your reading speed changes dramatically depending on what you are reading. I've been reading some Dickens recently and haven't been able to read it as fast as other things I read due to the more challenging lexis and sentence structure. It is natural that your brain would need longer to accurately comprehend this kind of material and I try to make a habit of slowing myself down so I fully understand it. I do also think it important to know when this level of care is not required so that you can skim through things more quickly - I find this is the case with a lot of stuff I read on the internet or in my day at work.
    The man that hath no music in himself, nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds, is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils. The motions of his spirit are dull as night, and his affections dark as Erebus. Let no such man be trusted.

  14. #14
    Internal nebulae TheFifthElement's Avatar
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    Manchegan, I think reading speed is something that’s hard-coded rather than linked to IQ. You can probably learn to read faster or slower but you’ll have a natural inclination one way or the other and to do the opposite will take tricks, training and effort. I read fast and it’s an effort to read slowly; but my fast reading comes as a result of skimming, albeit largely unknowingly. I don’t lose comprehension, though sometimes I will lose detail, but there are times when I’ll be reading and I’ll go back to a passage and read it word for word to absorb implication and meaning. So I suppose it’s a bit like scanning the page and picking out the bits that really matter and reading them, but it happens so fast you don’t really know that’s what you’re doing.

    This came to light for when my son was learning to read. He speed reads like me. What we noticed was that he found it difficult to concentrate on the specific words. So he might be reading a sentence which says this:

    “On walking to the shops Barry swayed his bag, banging it against the wall.”

    and what my son will read is this:

    “On walking to the shops Barry swung his bag, bumping it on the wall.”

    so he kind of omits words but fills them with other broadly suitable words – he’s got the general gist of the sentence but doesn’t reproduce it exactly. This is exactly what I do! I also find that when I’m reading aloud if I come across an awkward sentence I’ll change it so that it says roughly the same thing but in a different way but again this happens very quickly.

    If I were to describe it I’d say it’s like looking at a painting, you can immediately see what the painting depicts but to fully appreciate the artistry you need to hone in on the fine details. Skimming gives you a decent appreciation of the picture without looking at every brushstroke. I have tried, over the years, to examine those brushstrokes but it’s not my natural inclination and to do so, continually, through a book is such an effort I’ve never been able to keep up.
    Want to know what I think about books? Check out https://biisbooks.wordpress.com/

  15. #15
    Registered User Manchegan's Avatar
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    Methinks mine question was misworded. I don't really seek to speed up my reading, and I fully understand that if I were to push myself to read faster, it would be at the expense of comprehension and appreciation.

    I'm simply curious whether other, more intelligent folks are able to read deep literature with the same ease and speed that I am able to read James Patterson or Dan Brown.

    My curiousity is more an attempt to understand how geniuses might experience art and the world, in the same way one might wonder what it feels like to be trapped in a slower mind.

    To get the IQ aspect rolling, I'll tell ya'll mine. I've never been officially tested, but a few online tests have all produced scores of 138. With dense fiction, I'm guessing I read a page in about 3 or 4 minutes.

    so how's about ya'll?
    This is the comic I write: http://www.snmcomics.com/
    It's where crude toilet humor somehow meets snobby literature allusions.

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