I'm Not a Scientist - Did I get This Right??

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I'm Not a Scientist - Did I get This Right??

Postby teacherman on March 13th, 2017, 12:13 pm 

This article, entitled Patterns of Inverted Reading and Subgroups in Dyslexia, appeared in The Annals of Dyslexia (a peer reviewed scientific journal) in the mid 80's. Below you will find a summation of the study which I did a few years ago - but I'm not a scientist. Could someone read the article and tell me if my conclusions are correct.
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF02663620

Here's what I came up with:
The study, which was conducted in Denmark by Larsen and Parlenvi and published in the Orton Dyslexia Society’s Annals of Dyslexia in 1984, was originally intended to determine the significance of the direction in which reading is carried out. In other words, would readers do just as well (or just as poorly) if they had to read text from right-to-left rather than from left to right?

And guess how the researchers reversed the print direction to test its effect...
You guessed it! They simply turned the text upside down!

The study is entitled “Patterns of Inverted Reading and Subgroups in Dyslexia” and it is available on the web from Springerlink.com for a cost of $34.00. But I think I can pretty much describe how the experiment was done and sum up their highly enlightening findings at no cost to you.

The subjects of the experiment were 66 second grade students drawn from public schools in the Gothenburg area of Denmark. The experimental group consisted of 46 struggling readers, 19 girls and 27 boys. Although the write-up says these students were at least one standard deviation below the Swedish standard, there is no way to know the full range of dysfunction. I think it’s safe to assume that there were a number of non-readers in the group, as well as many who had minimal reading skills.

The control group was made up of 12 boys and 8 girls who were at, or above, second grade reading level as determined by a standard reading test. Again, there is no way of knowing how high these student’s scores reached, but I think it is safe to assume that some were well above grade level. There were two separate experiments done with these kids.

In the first experiment, a list of 153 words was presented to the students for them to read – first in the “normal” way, and then upside down. The number of errors, error types and WPM were recorded each time. In addition, the students were asked to recall as many of the words as possible and scored appropriately.

The results showed that the poor readers, as a group, made significantly less errors when they read upside down. What’s really interesting is that when the good readers read upside down, 95% of their errors were reversals, but when the poor readers read upside down, less than 2% of their errors were reversals.

Not only that, but 16 of the poor readers actually read faster when the list was upside down than when it was right-side-up.



The second experiment was administered in the same way, but instead of a word list, Larsen and Parlenvi used a meaningful 10-word sentence. Eye movements were recorded as the sentences were read both inverted and right-side-up.

As you might expect, all of the good readers read much faster in the upright position, but for the poor readers it was a different story. Close to 60% of the poor readers read faster upside down than right-side-up!



The experimenters conclude, and I quote, “the directional aspect of the reading process is of great importance to poor readers. At least 28% of the poor readers proved to be clearly better readers while reading from right to left.”

Whether or not you agree that directionality was the reason the poor readers did better reading upside down, the fact remains:

A significant percentage of struggling readers perform much better when allowed to hold the text inverted rather than in the “normal” way.
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Re: I'm Not a Scientist - Did I get This Right??

Postby neuro on March 14th, 2017, 12:37 pm 

Tihs jsut is a tset to cehck on the cpbaliaitiy to raed a txet wcihch is not a txet bcuaese all wrdos are sblemcrad auarnd.
You may try to raed it uspdie dnaw or srtagtih.

It is probable that if you are a good reader you can read it better upside-down than straight, because this will force you to use the semantic approach, based on rapidly recognizing the overall "shape" of a word and interpreting it based on the context (notice that the first and final letters of each word are preserved). If instead you read it straight you will have a strong interference by the lexical (spelling) approach, that confuses the perception (because of the scrambling).

Does this make sense?
(notice that semantic reading is much faster than literal...)
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Re: I'm Not a Scientist - Did I get This Right??

Postby teacherman on March 14th, 2017, 1:09 pm 

neuro » March 14th, 2017, 12:37 pm wrote:Tihs jsut is a tset to cehck on the cpbaliaitiy to raed a txet wcihch is not a txet bcuaese all wrdos are sblemcrad auarnd.
You may try to raed it uspdie dnaw or srtagtih.

It is probable that if you are a good reader you can read it better upside-down than straight, because this will force you to use the semantic approach, based on rapidly recognizing the overall "shape" of a word and interpreting it based on the context (notice that the first and final letters of each word are preserved). If instead you read it straight you will have a strong interference by the lexical (spelling) approach, that confuses the perception (because of the scrambling).

Does this make sense?
(notice that semantic reading is much faster than literal...)


Yes, that does make sense. The key is "if you are a good reader".

Every single one of the kids (and a few adults) I've worked extensively were either non-readers or poor readers. These are kids who could not recognize the most basic English words - the, of, and, an is, etc. Also, over and over you will see and hear them "sound out" a tough word. Initially, they could not even name the letters unless they flip the print.

Did you happen to look at the study? Would love some feedback on that.....
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Re: I'm Not a Scientist - Did I get This Right??

Postby neuro on March 14th, 2017, 6:35 pm 

well, teacher,
the key is "if you are a good reader", in that if you are such then it is easier to read scrambled words upside down, because you are not distracted by checking the right sequence of letters.

But this means that if you are NOT a good reader (and in particular if you are dyslexic and/or have lateralization problems) you might read better upside down even NON SCRAMBLED words, because in that case as well you are not distracted by checking the right sequence of letters (which you have anyway problems in checking).
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Re: I'm Not a Scientist - Did I get This Right??

Postby doogles on March 15th, 2017, 4:59 am 

teacherman » Mon Mar 13, 2017 12:13 pm wrote:This article, entitled Patterns of Inverted Reading and Subgroups in Dyslexia, appeared in The Annals of Dyslexia (a peer reviewed scientific journal) in the mid 80's. Below you will find a summation of the study which I did a few years ago - but I'm not a scientist. Could someone read the article and tell me if my conclusions are correct.
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF02663620

Here's what I came up with:
The study, which was conducted in Denmark by Larsen and Parlenvi and published in the Orton Dyslexia Society’s Annals of Dyslexia in 1984, was originally intended to determine the significance of the direction in which reading is carried out. In other words, would readers do just as well (or just as poorly) if they had to read text from right-to-left rather than from left to right?

And guess how the researchers reversed the print direction to test its effect...
You guessed it! They simply turned the text upside down!

The study is entitled “Patterns of Inverted Reading and Subgroups in Dyslexia” and it is available on the web from Springerlink.com for a cost of $34.00. But I think I can pretty much describe how the experiment was done and sum up their highly enlightening findings at no cost to you.

The subjects of the experiment were 66 second grade students drawn from public schools in the Gothenburg area of Denmark. The experimental group consisted of 46 struggling readers, 19 girls and 27 boys. Although the write-up says these students were at least one standard deviation below the Swedish standard, there is no way to know the full range of dysfunction. I think it’s safe to assume that there were a number of non-readers in the group, as well as many who had minimal reading skills.

The control group was made up of 12 boys and 8 girls who were at, or above, second grade reading level as determined by a standard reading test. Again, there is no way of knowing how high these student’s scores reached, but I think it is safe to assume that some were well above grade level. There were two separate experiments done with these kids.

In the first experiment, a list of 153 words was presented to the students for them to read – first in the “normal” way, and then upside down. The number of errors, error types and WPM were recorded each time. In addition, the students were asked to recall as many of the words as possible and scored appropriately.

The results showed that the poor readers, as a group, made significantly less errors when they read upside down. What’s really interesting is that when the good readers read upside down, 95% of their errors were reversals, but when the poor readers read upside down, less than 2% of their errors were reversals.

Not only that, but 16 of the poor readers actually read faster when the list was upside down than when it was right-side-up.



The second experiment was administered in the same way, but instead of a word list, Larsen and Parlenvi used a meaningful 10-word sentence. Eye movements were recorded as the sentences were read both inverted and right-side-up.

As you might expect, all of the good readers read much faster in the upright position, but for the poor readers it was a different story. Close to 60% of the poor readers read faster upside down than right-side-up!



The experimenters conclude, and I quote, “the directional aspect of the reading process is of great importance to poor readers. At least 28% of the poor readers proved to be clearly better readers while reading from right to left.”

Whether or not you agree that directionality was the reason the poor readers did better reading upside down, the fact remains:

A significant percentage of struggling readers perform much better when allowed to hold the text inverted rather than in the “normal” way.


teacherman, I’m a ‘patsy for a challenge of any kind. I gather that you wish to know if your conclusions are scientifically correct.

The first thing I stumbled over was the substance of your actual ‘çonclusion’. I think it was “A significant percentage of struggling readers perform much better when allowed to hold the text inverted rather than in the “normal” way.

I would have liked to have seen the full text for myself, but apparently like many members of this forum, I find the costs of full texts somewhat prohibitive considering my range of interests.

If your representation of the full text was accurate, then one glaring error was that the actual authors concluded that “the directional aspect of the reading process is of great importance to poor readers. At least 28% of the poor readers proved to be clearly better readers while reading from right to left.”

There is clearly at least a typo error here because absolutely nothing in the above presentation dealt with reading left to right as distinct from left to right. It was all about upright as distinct from upside down.I will regard it as a typo.

The ethnic origin of these grade 2 students should have also been described at length. If they were all Anglo-Saxon, then the role-models they mimicked in their early development would have all been on a par, writing from left to right horizontally.

We have no basic data as to whether the experimental group were predominantly of Asian origin – writing vertically from left to right and from bottom to top.

But that’s enough of that. For any scientific experiments, the experimental and control groups need to be selected on the basis of ruling out ALL possible confounding factors to be equivalent if the final statistical comparisons are to be assessed.

So, considering myself to be an objective scientist, if all of the subjects in this experiment had equivalent early home lives and rearing during their very formative years from 3 to 5 years of age (we learn more by mimicking at this age than we do in the next 10 years), and if your summary of the full text of the article is accurate, then I would have to accept your conclusion as being plausible.

But once again, if, and only IF that was so, I feel impelled to add that every method of written communication – letters, emails, newspapers, and even subtitles in movies use top left to bottom right text for communication. It’s a basic form of communication within Anglo-Saxon cultures. I cannot imagine how we can function with two types of co-existing writing systems. And I repeat that this comment is based on the premise (which has not been established) that the experimental group were all raised in Anglo-Saxon cultures.

Without repeating the non-parametric statistics myself, I accept that the conclusions appear to be reasonable statistically.

This final statement is not a scientific conclusion, but rather a realistic personal opinion. If, and once again, IF all of the participants were Anglo-Saxon and matched in their cultural, as distinct from schooling training, as I’ve said earlier, I believe there’s no way we could have two sets of writing orientation within our culture without it becoming cumbersome.

I believe that we have to continue exactly what we are doing at the moment and that is to rely on BRAIN PLASTICITY in those members of our cultures who have problems in adapting to the status quo.

Objectively, if all subjects in the study were of Anglo-Saxon upbringing, the statistical differences could be significant, and your 'conclusion' could be correct.

But what anybody could do about it is entirely another matter.
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Re: I'm Not a Scientist - Did I get This Right??

Postby bangstrom on March 15th, 2017, 11:40 pm 

doogles » March 15th, 2017, 3:59 am wrote:
We have no basic data as to whether the experimental group were predominantly of Asian origin – writing vertically from left to right and from bottom to top.

Chinese vertical writing is rarely used anymore except for things like street signs. The Chinese now write “western style” from left to right and top to bottom. I don’t know of any writing that goes from bottom to top. Children in mainland China begin learning to read and write with an alphabet the same as western children and later switch to character writing. Vertical writing was originally popular because Chinese scrolls were made of vertical slats of bamboo, like window shades, which made vertical writing the most natural.

Years ago, there was a study in Pennsylvania where a few severely dyslectic children were taught to read and write in simple Chinese characters and they had no unexpected difficulties but the practice was abandoned because being able to write with Chinese picture-graphs did not make learning to use an alphabet any easier. Chinese characters and phonetic writing are processed in different parts of the brain so a person can be dyslectic in one writing system but not in the other.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/analects ... ia-chinese

I read somewhere that dyslectics learn to read in part by recognizing words “Chinese style”, that is, recognizing words by their length and shape and they pay the closest attention ‘skyline’ at the top of the words. Reading upside down would make the bottom of the words the most important but I don’t see how this could make any difference in how easy it is to read.
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Re: I'm Not a Scientist - Did I get This Right??

Postby teacherman on March 16th, 2017, 6:38 am 

"The subjects of the experiment were 66 second grade students drawn from public schools in the Gothenburg area of Denmark. The experimental group consisted of 46 struggling readers, 19 girls and 27 boys. Although the write-up says these students were at least one standard deviation below the Swedish standard, there is no way to know the full range of dysfunction. I think it’s safe to assume that there were a number of non-readers in the group, as well as many who had minimal reading skills."


As was stated n the original post, the subjects were Danish and the writing was in Danish. I believe Danish is written in the same way as English using the same alphabet - except there are three additional letters....
Steve

Still hoping that someone who has access to the actual study (without having to pay for it) will compare it to my summation.
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Re: I'm Not a Scientist - Did I get This Right??

Postby neuro on March 16th, 2017, 2:29 pm 

doogles and bangstrom,
I would invite you to read my previous message, or to simply sit down a moment, write down a text (or copy it from a book) writing each word so that the first and last letter are correct, and all the internal letters of the word are scrambled.

Then try and read it. You will probably be able to.
Still, the scrambling will be a little annoying.
You essentially use a reading procedure - rather like the above-mentioned Chinese way - based on recognizing the overall "shape" of the word, and helping yourself with the meaning of the surrounding words (semantic-contextual approach) to interpret each word, rather than spelling out each of them (lexical-scanning approach).

You will share for a moment a feeling similar to that of a dyslexic person.

Now turn the sheet upside down: you shall see that you are able to read at least as well, and probably better.
Because now you are even more inclined to use the semantic-contextual rather than the lexical-scanning approach to read.
It is not a question of baseline or skyline of the words. It is just considering its general shape.
And it is not a problem of the direction of writing-reading (vertical/horizontal, rightward or leftward).
It is not a problem of absolute directions in space.

If you do this test, and submit it to some of your acquaintances who have no problems in reading, you will probably observe the same thing as has been reported for dyslexic people: many of them will read more fluently the upside-down text than the straight one.
And this simply occurs because they are much less willing to apply themselves to scan the letters of the words: they will be more happy to "interpret" the text by "guessing" the words based on their general shape and the context.
Which, by the way, is a much faster reading procedure.
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Re: I'm Not a Scientist - Did I get This Right??

Postby teacherman on March 16th, 2017, 5:12 pm 

Okay, but I'm not sure how that applies to what we're dealing with here.
For example, in the video below, this 1st grader was given one minute to name the letters on this sheet. The first time he tried (conventionally) he got about 3 correct. After I flipped it, he got virtually all letters correct - even the d's, b's, p's, q's, u's and n's.
Does what you are describing explain this?


Last edited by teacherman on March 16th, 2017, 5:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: I'm Not a Scientist - Did I get This Right??

Postby teacherman on March 16th, 2017, 5:26 pm 

Could you do this, Neuro?
Bear in mind that this is the only way he can read fluently.






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Re: I'm Not a Scientist - Did I get This Right??

Postby doogles on March 17th, 2017, 7:46 am 

Bangstrom, thanks for pointing that out to me.

Neuro, I did read your post, but misinterpreted your intent. I thought you were just giving an example of how easily adults can read scrambled writing. I did a screen dump and inverted the text. I was surprised to find that I could read the text upside down just as easily.

SCRAMBLED WRITING 2.jpg


Teacherman, I assumed that Danish meant nationality, rather than ethnicity. In multicultural Australia, we have people of a wide range of ethnic origin.

It does sound though as if you are now confirming that both populations were homogeneous with respect to their domestic cultural development outside of school and that the only difference between the two groups was their scores according to a Swedish Reading test.

If that is so then it’s valid to conclude that in this test, “a significant percentage of struggling readers perform(ed) much better when allowed to hold the text inverted rather than in the “normal” way”.

I'm assuming that your last sentence in the OP was the conclusion you were talking about.
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