Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Manipulation of text in space/time and its application to reading comprehension and retention...

I have a few hypotheses I want to try soon.

1) Perspective scrolling reading: Imagine a long wall that stretches infinitely.  On this wall is written text.  Each word stands alone (that is, not "wrapped" with words above or below).  In that sense it is linear like a word stream in a sentence.  Take that wall, change your perpective so that the wall is to your left, and you have a 3D perspective view so that the wall recededs into the distance.  The first word of the text is to your left. Now, the wall is attached to a scrolling device (literal Scroll!)  The first word moves towards you in the Z-Axis, and then flies past and the second word approaches (with the third word, etc... on the wall continuing to recede in the distance, growing and then disappearing as the wall scrolls past you)

Question : How fast can the scrolling get before your lose your ability to comprehend?  Is this easier or worse then seeing a whole plane of words on the screen like a paragraph presents.

2) Dual Perspective Scrolling Reading: Now - add another wall to your right, and do something like the following options:

A) Alternate words: The first word is on the left, the next word is on the right and so on and so forth, such that all odd-numbered words in the sentences are on the left and all the even or on the right.

Question: Will alternating words lead to an ability to read and comprehend faster than single scrolling?

B) Clustering Words: Can you, instead, group words, not linearlly, but as a grouping in the sentence such that the whole cluster is displayed in some manner that it is quickly grasped by the mind?  This sentence/cluster of meaning (in this sense we are dealing with semantic clusters - it may be that the tradtional concepts of "sentence structure" based on linearity aren't quite the same when put forth in this method.  I am literally picturing a cluster of words, but still giving the same meaning as a line of words).
Question: Can these clusters present a dense aggregate of information such that the concept may be grokked much more rapidly than linear text, and higher than scrolling linearity (that is to say - can the amount of clusters presented per unit of time convey as much or more information then the single word streams?)

C) Left/Right brain streaming. Can one take the dichotomy of Left-Brain->Concrete / Right->Abstract (as potentially faulty as that categorization may be), and systematize words under these concepts in such a manner that when presenting to the user, the Concrete Words show up on the right hand side, while the left hand side displays more Abstract Concepts.  We are going back away from the clustering concept presented in section B and back towards a more linear concept of streaming like in A - however instead of alternating words, you're alternating the supposed mental processing of language.

Question: Will presenting these words in such a manner lead to any change in processing?  I hypothesize it won't but it would be interesting to test.  A test would have to mix it such that some people receive inversions (i.e. creative would be presented to the left side, as opposed to the right side).

3) Non-Perspective-Scrolling Word Clustering over Time: What happens if instead one stops the streaming metaphor and re-orients to the screen face on as if one is back to watching TV or something.  The plan is now perpendicular to you.  Instead of words streaming by, clusters flash on the screen.  The same sort of clusters as before.  Either perhaps a cluster of X words or a cluster of sentences or some other method.

Question: Can doing clustering in such a way improve reading efficiency compared to sentences flashing on the screen? How long must these clusters stay on the screen? Can this type of clustering lead to better comprehension and retention of information, the same or less?