Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Very Important Question

Last week Noah and I were talking about dreams.

I dream a lot and I remember a lot of my dreams. I know the circumstances, interactions etc in my dreams, but I don't have a lot of visuals in my dreams to go with my thoughts. I know that may not make any sense, but I am not sure how else to explain it.

Anyway, Noah asked me if when I read if I visualize what I am reading as a movie. I said, "are you kidding me? No! How would I ever get through a book? I could tell you how a book described something, but I wouldn't really see it in my head." By the way, I am a very fast reader.

Noah laughed. "When I read," he said, "it is as if the whole thing is a movie in my head. I can see it all." By the way, Noah reads slowly.

We asked some friends the other night about it. My friend Becki does not "see" everything when she is reading (like me) and she is also a very fast reader. Matt does "see" everything (like Noah) and he is very slow.

So, my question is: do you "see" a movie in your head as you read? Are you a fast reader or a slow reader?



Grandma Debbie said...

When I read, I tend not to visualize too much. I never have a clear idea in my mind what characters look like, and I despise reading long landscape descriptions because I can't visualize the landscape anyway. I also rarely hear the characters' voices. The only time I see/hear it like a movie is if I've seen the movie before reading the book. I don't read very fast or very slowly, and unfortunately, since my kids outgrew their homeschool, I don't read very much period.

A funny aside: my brother-in-law was in a bookstore about the time Les Miserables came out in the theaters. He overheard one teen say to another, "Look! The book is out already!"

Rachel said...

I do visual, but maybe not in great detail - would be hard unless I compare with someone who's reading the same book. I do read quickly though. It's hard for me to think of reading a book without visualizing - the two seem so synonymous (sp?) to me.

Rachel said...

I do visualize when I read and sometimes it annoys me because it does slow down my reading especially with really descriptive writing. When it comes to dreams I am the opposite of you...I can remember pictures, places, and different scenarios but don't remember a whole lot about of dialogue or what was actually happening in the dream.

Jamie said...

You seriously don't visualize the book you're reading?? I don't even know how that's possible! Heck, I'll replay a book in my head even AFTER I'm done reading. I once read a book that referred to it as watching "eyelid movies" - in other words, closing your eyes and replaying a scene in your head.

Oh, and I am an average-to-quick reader. And apparently a dork.

Kim said...

It depends on what I am reading. Normally I don't start to visualize a book unless I read it more than once. (Which isn't abnormal. I read almost every book I own at least twice, some much more than that.)

And I am a very fast reader, but slowing down doesn't work for me. I've tried and I just get distracted.

Mike/Jenni said...

I do visualize everything when I read and I wouldn't consider myself a fast reader either. If I'm reading out loud I have a hard time visualizing, but I read a lot faster. I am a very visual person. If I read something that I can't visualize chances are I won't remember it for too long. I learn by visualizing (or by doing hands-on). I know there are those out there that can read something (say an owners manual) and once they are done they know practically everything they just read. I, on the other hand, will throw the manual out (they are useless most of the time) and will figure things out on my own. Is there a correlation between reading/visualizing and how we learn? Perhaps. Do you read owners manuals/instructions?

Heather of the EO said...

I think I'm in the middle. I don't take the time to have really vivid and detailed pictures in my head, but I do see the room people are in or the backdrop as kind of abstract. When I see a movie based on a book, I'll think "that's not how I pictured it." I read pretty fast, I'd say maybe a bit above average, but not super fast.

Renae said...

I am kind of a slow reader - and yes, I see everything that I read! Sometimes, I try not to visualize so much so that I read faster, but it is kind of fun to make your book into your own movie! Usually, when I try not to visualize, I end up going back and visualizing what I didn't visualize anyway. This does really slow me down! Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I remember better when I visualize things!!!

Matt said...

What publicity, mentioned on the front page!

Anyway, a continuing thought on this topic... whenever I read and visualize the scenario, I start with settings I am familiar with, and replace things as they are described. For instance, if I read a story about someone in a house I'll place them in a house I've been in (or at least seen), and then start moving rooms and changing the layout based on what's described in the book - a few times it's given me cool ideas for home designs.

I wonder if this could also be related to people who are more spatial, as opposed to people who are not -- in general I think I'm more spatial (instead of whatever the corollary is).

Johanna said...

I don't really see a movie...and I'm a fast reader. Hmmm, I have never thought about this before! How interesting! :-)

M&Ms said...

I'm certainly a visual person and see the entire plot (provided it is an interesting book) played out like a movie. I never imagined seeing it any other way...Ok, then here's a quick survey to figure out what else people "see" (or don't see) differently:

Do You...

See song lyrics on the radio as a movie
Remember past events in pictures
Like maps and charts
Remember faces instead of names
Navigate by landmarks, not street names
Hear a word and immediately associate it with a picture

Perhaps enhanced visualization is a sign of intelligence...then again, it could be why I am so easily distracted

Billi Jo said...

Josh is a quick reader who creates a vague visual in his head as he reads, and he will reread books. I am a moderate reader who visualizes everything; do not often reread books. I also remember my dreams vividly, almost to the point that I have to consciously separate them from reality, Josh can‘t even remember if he dreamt. I do think you are on to something, interesting….

The Three 22nds said...

Thanks for all the comments! I did respond via comment to some of your comments yesterday, but somehow the comment went into oblivion.

I think it is cool that we all do a simple thing like reading so differently. It is fun to learn how different brains work, and how we process information. When I have a chance I am going to do a little research and see if I can uncover some Real data!

Katie said...

I read pretty fast but I don't see a "movie" in my head. Justin says he sees everything like in a movie, although he says it is not as clear. He does not read as fast as I do.