How much do we understand when skim reading?

Geoffrey B Duggan, Stephen J Payne

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review

10 Citations (SciVal)


The World Wide Web and other technological advances have meant rapid reading or "skimming" of text is increasingly common in our information-rich time-limited society. This study investigates the effectiveness of skimming as a strategy for understanding a text. A replication and extension of Masson's (1982) work found that recognition of important, unimportant and inferable information declined equally when readers were required to skim rather than read text normally. This indicates that readers struggle to focus on important information when skimming. Moreover, a response bias suggests skimmers are more likely to over-interpret complicated information as consistent with the text. Thus, designers including large amounts of text should be aware that skimming is a limited strategy for achieving understanding.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2006
EventACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI '06 - Montreal, Canada
Duration: 22 Apr 200627 Apr 2006


ConferenceACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI '06


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