Friday, 4 April 2014

Reading States Defined

Readers know there's different kinds of reading. There's a hierarchy of cognitive function established by location, time and task priority (LTT). It's kind of a formula that underlies all of our activity and it results in emotional states such as guilt, happiness and procrastination. 

If you have the luxury of complete freedom and you are either sitting by a pool on a warm, sunny day or on vacation on a beach near the Equator, you can relax and read each page slowly and deliberately. It doesn't even have to be a good book or good prose. It doesn't matter. The pleasure of the location plus the availability of time and the absence of task priority make this the preferred state known as "Alpha" reading. 

Sometimes, when the book is really, really good and you lose the sense of LTT (location, time and task), you might consider wearing a portable alarm device so you know when to get off the bus or the train. Otherwise, you might end up arriving at an unintentional destination. This also occurs on a regular basis on the last trains of the day leaving Grand Central Station after the bars have closed. I'm not saying passengers are reading. I'm just saying they are not paying attention to LTT.

The "Beta" state of reading is also a pleasure state. This often takes place when reading while anticipating the transitional mode preceding dream state. It may occur in bed, but what defines it is the variable of task priority has been taken out of the equation (Location and Time are still significant and essential). The "Beta" state does not take place in medical waiting rooms. This is a much lower state known as "Epsilon" reading - otherwise known as "killing time."

"Gamma" reading is the highly focused state when information is being recorded into mnemonic memory registers. It is information you require or really, really want to remember. It is useful for storing critical data regarding your job or for when you are contributing to conversation in restaruants or institutions of refreshment. If you don't get your facts right, you will be contradicted. Even so, you may be required to either furnish physical proof or become more concvincing in your delivery than the person who is challenging you. This should not be confused with "Delta" reading which is known as studying. In this state, the equation has a very heavy value in the Task variable while the location and time elements only add pressure and anxiety.

There is also "Kappa" reading, which is known as "speed reading," but that is only useful for getting through periodicals or books you have no intention of actually absorbing or retaining for whatever reasons. Some of the other kinds of reading have names such as Zeta, Eta, Theta, Iota and Lambda, but the LTT equation tends to grow more and more irrelevant in those progressive states. Some of them have to do with if you have your glasses with you or if you are trying to read while you are driving or if you are trying to multi-task (such as walking or eating).

One of those succeeding states known as "Theta" refers to reading "sequential art" (otherwise known as graphic novels and comic books), although one can argue, depending on the location and time and task priority equation, you might be able to enter the "Alpha" state from there - depending on your VPI (Visual Propensity Index).


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Very informative. I think I read in the WIRNW (Will I Remember Next Week) State. LOL (Laugh Out...). I like to think about how people read to improve my own, and understand how to get my message out. Thanks for the interesting article. I will do my best to remember it.