Tweet it, Blog It, Repeat It, 60,000 Times: Truthiness Achieved

Alan Levine, Apr 07, 2014
Commentary by Stephen Downes

If you are one of the many people who were exposed to this week's factoid - the assertion that "we process visual information 60,000 faster than text" - then you will want to read Alan Levine's investigations into the truthiness of this assertion. So far as he can tell (and he explored numerous rabbit warrens in his search) there is no actual basis for the claim (beyond public relations hype). Levine comments, "The ironic thing is that it is actually a rather ludicrous claim in the first place. What do we mean by 'information being processed' be it visual or text? ... It’s almost like claiming that rock music can be processed more quickly than than primary colors. The comparison is just… pointless." (The nearest analogue I can think of are the Shepard & Metzler experiments around rotating mental images, but even here the number 60,000 would be a total fabrication).

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