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2006Research Conference | June 15–16

This conference highlighted the work of invited speakers, independent researchers who have received grant funds from the Institute of Education Sciences, and trainees supported through predoctoral training grants and postdoctoral fellowships. The presentations are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Department of Education or the Institute of Education Sciences.
Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill
400 New Jersey Avenue, N.W.
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'Mindless Reading' and its Effects on Comprehension

Erik D. Reichle, University of Pittsburgh
Francisco J. Morales, University of Pittsburgh
Patryk A. Laurent, University of Pittsburgh
David V. Halpern, University of Pittsburgh
Jonathan W. Schooler, University of British Columbia

Abstract: "Mindless reading" occurs when, during reading, our eyes continue to move across the printed page in spite of the fact that we are busy thinking about things that are often completely unrelated to the text. Despite of the fact that it appears to be both ubiquitous and detrimental to reading comprehension, the phenomenon has received scant attention from reading educators or cognitive scientists. The results of three behavioral experiments on mindless reading will be reported in this talk. These results demonstrate that mindless reading can be studied in laboratory contexts, that it often occurs without awareness of the fact that it is happening, and that it does indeed cause problems for reading comprehension. These results will be described within a formal computational framework, and the implications of this work for the practice of reading education and for our general understanding of both reading and meta-awareness will also be discussed.