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I can relate with the reading issue. I've occasionally read 2 pages of a book while thinking of something else entirely, then realise I didn't absorb any of what I read. Not just tuning in and out - nothing..

I also can't skim text - need to almost pronounce all the phrases in my head, which is a pain when reading long books. I do read a lot, and have no literacy or comprehension issues - just seems like there's interference somewhere..




I don't regret not being able to finish a book when I go off into deep branches of thought, provoked by ideas from a book. It's not an issue unless I really need to read something and focus. While I may not finish a book, I've gotten so much from the experience of reading it. The experience is gratifying and worthwhile because of the creativity a book can spark.

A good book is a catalyst for the creative mind.


Skimming text doesn't work the same for everyone. The eyes literally scan a page for (basically random) nouns, buzzwords, verbs etc to kinda guess the content, regarding the context. The associative power of the brain (which is different in every person) fills in the gaps and usually guesses everything correctly. But when there is a context switch in between... well, the wrong guess can turn out catastrophically bad.

I think, when my mind wanders off while still reading that means I got "bored" with the text by already knowing what's going to happen and I switch to associative thoughts instead. That's a problem for people who think highly associative instead of sequential. They need to apply or follow sequential logic actively instead of just doing it automatically, and that occasionally bores the hell of them, or exhaust them, because often they just know how things are. Hence the wandering mind in this case is a different one compared to the cases in the article.


> I think, when my mind wanders off while still reading that means I got "bored" with the text by already knowing what's going to happen and I switch to associative thoughts instead.

Notice any difference between how your brain "behaves" reading fiction and non-fiction/academic works - e.g. reading for enjoyment vs reading argumentative discourse. For fiction, do you also find yourself guessing at the content or wandering off?


Fiction in most cases uses descriptive language, with a lot of cues for imagination to kick in. It's something different compared to reading scientific articles in journals. In such article you need to follow the logical reasoning and decision-making, considering other possibilities and outcomes (especially when reading the problem analysis and conclusion parts).

Both cases have similar pattern in terms of wandering off for me, but they are not quite the same. Reading for joy means enjoying the products of your own imagination, but sometimes it shoots over the line, I guess. Reading for work is more tedious, because its not for fun, hence the guessing distraction, like "yeah, I get it, but what about this and that?" Having understood the problem, reading the solutions then seems kinda obvious.

There is a difference, but both follow the same pattern, so: yeah.


As I learned, my habit of kinda omitting the obvious and wander off to the non-obvious relations behind it all the time seems to be rare. I've never met another person who does that.


This sounds quite similar to my experience. I have a Non-Verbal Learning Disorder, and if I don't sub-vocalize everything, I end up with no idea of what I've just read. Often, I end up with my mind wandering in the same way and I'll have to go back and re-read everything I'd just read. While individual sentences and phrases will seem irritatingly familiar, I still have no idea of what I've read until I re-read it.

I'll sometimes find myself unable to grasp what I'm reading as if I were daydreaming while reading it, and I have to read it four or five times before I can get a clue about the material. It's easier if I break it down into the smallest fragments I can, and really force myself to understand those little bits, proceeding through it until I've stitched together a few of these into a larger concept. Rinse, repeat.


That's interesting. I suppose the written word is just a visual representation that needs to be parsed, natural that there could be thought processes that overlap and conflict with that process. The only similar experience I have is when I'm learning a new tune on the piano - when following the sheet music my mind keeps jumping ahead and trying to work out where the song is going (and also analyzing how I'm playing), whereas working out the tune and playing "by ear" is much quicker for me and doesn't cause any concentration issues. It's a pretty mild and perfectly manageable thing for me though, I can generally force myself to comply, but it takes effort!


I (sort-of) play bass, and when I learn a song from tab, I'm pretty much just wrote learning. I'm sort-of learning to read musical notation, but I don't really have a visual memory which makes it really hard. It would certainly be a lot easier if I had a lot more knowledge of musical theory.

Playing by ear is much harder for me because I know just a few scales, and I can't hold a note in my head long enough to find it on the fretboard. Knowing the scales would make everything a subconscious pattern.

Mind you, I am starting to think that's entirely an anxiety thing.


You might have success curbing excessive daydreaming with a nootropic like modafinil or even something like ritalin. Some vitamins help too like choline. Also, audio books.


I love the process of reading, but I've found for learning large amounts of material I read it out loud, record and MP3 it, and then listen to it through headphones, so that does work well.

Will look into those vitamins, thanks for the tip!




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