Self-paced versus fast-paced reading rates and their effect on comprehension and event-related potentials

Zvia Breznitz, Anthony Demarco, Prathiba Shammi, Gad Hakerem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Fifteen college-level readers (2 men and 13 women) were given 34 passages from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) for reading. During reading, event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded from the midline sites (Fz, Cz, and Pz) of the participants’ scalps. The first 17 passages were read by the participants at their own natural rate (self-paced condition). The second 17 passages were read at a fast-paced rate determined by the fastest reading rate recorded on an adequately comprehended trial from the preceding passages. Results indicated that accelerating reading rate increased the readers’ comprehension. Additionally, the increase in reading rate and improvement in comprehension were reflected in the ERP measures. This finding confirms this study’s assumption that there is a disparity between reading ability and routine performance, and that this disparity is manifested in measures of neurocognitive functioning as reflected by the ERPs. Specifically, the ERP waveforms discriminated not only reading rate (specifically manifested by differences in speed of processing), but also the level of comprehension attained by the participants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-407
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Genetic Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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