[PS-1.8] Reading aloud is quicker than reading silently---an example of enhancement of cognitive processing by action

Yanai, H. , Konno, T. & Enjyoji, A.

Ibaraki University

We have planned the following experiment for the purpose of
investigating effects of feedback from the outer world than the brain
to the brain itself on cognitive processing of the brain. To put it
differently, our motivation was to see if there is a difference in the
speed of information processing by the isolated (imaginary) brain and
the connected (actual) brain.

We have compared the speeds of saying words in two experimental
conditions. One was saying normally, i.e. reading aloud. The other was
saying with silent inner voice without making any sounds, i.e. your
brain just simulates saying words without using parts of your body
(mouth, your tongue, nor your throat).

Note that the meaning of the term "reading silently" is totally
different from the meaning of the term in a normal sense. The normal
meaning of the term is to read the sentences visually. Most of the
time, when reading silently, we do not pronounce the words even

Eight university students participated in the experiment. They were
instructed to "say" five-syllable Japanese words repeatedly until the
experimenter stopped them. During the "saying", the participants were
requested to push a button in synchrony to the onset or the end of
each word saying. Time of each button push were recorded. This was to
monitor their inner experiences that are not observable. To make the
mental loads identical in the two conditions, they did button push
also in the saying aloud condition.

As a resut of the experiment, reading silently required significantly
longer time than reading aloud, that is, reading aloud was
significantly quicker than reading silently. This would be an example
of enhanced cognitive processing by the existence of embodied action
(actually saying). From another point of view, this result could be
interpreted as indicating the importance of feedback to the brain from
for the efficient information processing by the brain.