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Studies

Hear from PhotoReading developer and author Paul R. Scheele about the origins, processes, and science behind PhotoReading as well as case studies of how people all over the world have made amazing breakthroughs with PhotoReading.

Choose a paper below or visit History of PhotoReading to learn more about the origin of the process.

Our PhotoReading courses are guaranteed to produce dramatic results.

Find out how you can get started today.

PhotoReading and New Pathways to the Inner Mind

by Paul Scheele, MA

Discovering New Pathways

Graduates of the PhotoReading course report improvements in information processing including increased reading speed, comprehension, and recall or use of information. Most interestingly, participants with closed head injuries, brain-lesion survivors of traumatic head injuries and strokes, extreme low-vision persons, and diagnosed dyslexics have also reported benefits after graduating successfully from the course.

PhotoReading presupposes the existence of direct visual pathways to the brain that are nonconscious. However, in 1985, when PhotoReading was first developed, little research was available that could explain how the brain produces the results experienced by PhotoReading graduates.

One remarkable case is that of Dr. Isaac Katzeff, a former professor of neurology at the University of South Africa in Johannesburg. Dr.Katzeff was trained in PhotoReading and several years later suffered a stroke in the primary visual cortex (V1, associated with conscious visual perception). He lost one-quarter of his visual field and his capacity to comprehend written information. Several months after Katzeff's stroke, he began experimenting with PhotoReading. He found that any information he would PhotoRead, he could then read with comprehension. Because he had a confirmed V1 lesion, he hypothesized that perhaps there is an alternative visual pathway that allows visual processing and comprehension through a route that is nonconscious.

Within a year, breakthrough research addressed Dr.Katzeff's hypothesis. In the neuroscience journal Brain, J.L. Barbur et al. wrote an article entitled "Conscious Visual Perception Without V1." Their conclusion confirmed Dr. Katzeff's experience and hypothesis. In it they stated, "The results showed that area V5 (specialized for visual motion) was active without a parallel activation of area V1, implying that the visual input can reach V5 without passing first through V1 and that such an input is sufficient for both the discrimination and the conscious awareness of the visual stimulus" (Barbur et al. 1293).

Read the rest of the article



PhotoReading: Breakthrough in Learning to Learn

by Paul R. Scheele, MA

Are there any books lying around that you purchased but haven't read? Do you ever start books only to get into them a few chapters before you put them on a pile of "books to read someday"?

If so, don't feel guilty. You are not alone. These are common problems of the "information overload age.” Even if you are an avid reader it can be a struggle to keep up.

In 1985, I had been a master practitioner of neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) for five years. I then studied the field of suggestive-accelerated learning and teaching. Having realized that the human brain has an astonishing ability to learn, I started pondering "What if your mind could process written materials as fast as you could turn the pages?"

During my graduate work in adult learning I researched systems of rapid reading. Using NLP, I modeled efficient readers, systems of accelerated learning, and experts of speed reading.

From this work emerged an accelerated, whole-brain system of reading called PhotoReading. The PhotoReading technique of "mentally photographing" the printed page is the hallmark of the system.

The purpose of the system is to get your reading done in the time you have available at a level of comprehension you need. This is achieved by giving individuals the skills to approach any type of material and pull from it whatever is needed without tensions, stresses, or anxieties.

Essential criteria for the finished course were:

  1. Second-order change. A person's current reading problem is maintained by how he or she copes with information overload. Rather than trying to read faster, the core problem itself should be addressed; i.e., dysfunctional coping strategies.
  2. Change reading from a procedure into a set of options. Why start at the beginning and slog through to the end, when there are dozens of other ways to get the information you need?
  3. Improvement occurs by means of the approach, not by practicing a technique. Most people quit using techniques. What is needed is a new psychological approach to gathering information from written pages—a new paradigm—not the repetitive practice of an unnatural technique. (I hated speed reading for that.)
  4. Emphasize how to use the mind. Rather than dwelling on reading and reading speeds, focus on how to use the mind effectively, to learn about learning from written materials.

PhotoReading brings together three powerful technologies

The PhotoReading course is 96% effective in teaching individuals these advanced strategies primarily because of an integration of NLP, accelerated learning, and preconscious processing.

  • NLP can help access the brain's potential for perception, memory, and change. PhotoReading uses NLP to produce the ideal state of mind and body for the input, process, and output of material that has been PhotoRead. In the classroom, NLP also provides a framework to help bypass a person's internal blocks to learning (see the 1995 SEAL proceedings titled, "Shadows in the Classroom").
  • Accelerated learning is a set of principles for acquiring information and new skills in a fraction of the time normally required for learning. This technology was principally developed by Dr. Georgi Lozanov for the rapid acquisition of language. It has also been referred to as superlearning, integrative learning, and suggestive learning. These principles provide a framework for learning anything from written materials effectively and quickly.
  • Research into preconscious processing supports that the brain has a preconscious processor capable of perceiving, discriminating, and responding to information in milliseconds (Perfetti, 1985; Dixon, 1981). Additionally, we all possess a nonconscious memory store which outweighs the capacity of the conscious mind by 10 billion to 1 (Wenger, 1987). While PhotoReading, we use the phenomenal capacities of the inner mind to achieve new levels of success in reading.

There is a deep and meaningful kinship linking PhotoReading, NLP, and suggestive-accelerated learning and teaching. This is demonstrated by the work of NLP trainers who are also PhotoReading instructors such as Dot Feldman, Kay Grask, Richard Clarke, Robert Siudzinski, Frances Wiggins, Deanna Sager, and Michael Lofrano. Any of them can describe the effect the PhotoReading technology has had on the direction and structure of their work. In every case, there has been a strengthened commitment to transforming how we learn to learn.

PhotoReading employs a simple, easy-to-use process

There are two relatively simple, yet critical, steps in the PhotoReading technique: first, input information through the preconscious processor directly into the deeper memory bins of the nonconscious mind; and second, retrieve information out of the nonconscious mind into the working memory of the conscious mind.

To effectively input information through the preconscious processor, students of PhotoReading must develop a "second type of sight" (Zink, 1992) which is quite different from the hard focus normally used in reading. We call it PhotoFocus.

PhotoFocus is a way of gazing using the peripheral vision to permit the brain to absorb information. This not only facilitates PhotoReading, but has potent ramifications in other areas of life, such as enhancing intuition, creativity, perception, and strengthening of the visual system. The popular 3-D posters or random-dot stereograms demonstrate the PhotoFocus effect.

The most fascinating aspect of PhotoReading is learning to access information that has been preconsciously processed. Aristotle first wrote about this type of access. Modern scientific studies began in the early 1900s (Poetzl, in Dixon, 1981). The process of accessing such information is subtle since recognizing signals from the nonconscious mind is much like studying your intuition or remembering a dream. Activation techniques—common to accelerated learning—make it easier to bring information into conscious awareness.

In the PhotoReading course, students learn many ways to recognize and "activate" information stored within the nonconscious mind. PhotoReaders learn to use the guidance of the nonconscious mind to quickly find the greatest meaning from printed materials. When we bypass the limitations of the analytical mind, we can improve reading efficiency almost instantly (Smith, 1979).

Nearly 95% of the time spent reading normally involves the conscious mind laboriously processing what the eyes have seen (Stauffer, 1969). PhotoReading produces dramatic time-saving results, because it bypasses conscious mind processing which can attend to only seven pieces of information at a time. Instead, it relies on the preconscious processor which can attend to thousands of bits of information at a time.

PhotoReading and data compression

Preconscious processing delivers information to the brain the way a computer transmits information over the Internet. It eliminates redundant information, compresses the data, and then transmits it. Once we get information to the brain, it naturally and quickly recognizes the essential pattern of meaningful information from a background of irrelevant or redundant information (Wolff, 1993).

I can illustrate this in another way. If you tell a friend about a book you have recently read, think of how you transmit the information. You take 200 pages and compress it into a paragraph or two. Similarly, an author has taken thousands of pages from other authors and compressed it into a single book. PhotoReading uses the preconscious processor to take in the entire printed "transmission" at once, then taps into the brain's natural ability to sort for meaning.

A documentary on British television featured Paul McKenna PhotoReading a computer screen at supercomputer manufacturer Cray Research in Minnesota. His brain took in over 250,000 words per minute when PhotoReading an entire novel in less than one minute.

PhotoReading produces real results in real life

PhotoReading breaks old paradigms that limit our choices in learning and reading. It opens the greater possibilities of the nonconscious mind. In effect, PhotoReading can be a new, refreshing philosophy of life.

PhotoReading is a leading-edge human performance technology that can be easily applied to real life. It is as natural a process as riding a bicycle. It is flexible enough to be effective for highly technical material as well as pleasure reading.

Here are examples on how people use PhotoReading:

Business People: With 38% of an executive's day spent reading (Investor's Daily, 1991), there is a huge payoff for any company with employees trained to PhotoRead. Business reading can be handled quickly, helping a person to stay informed and make more effective decisions.

  • Using this whole mind reading system, some people read daily newspapers thoroughly in 15-30 minutes. Professional journals and industry magazines can be finished completely in the time it used to take to read one article.
  • It is a joy to keep up with the latest business books. PhotoReaders like Dr. *, DDS from Florida, will finish an entire book in one evening, or the time it takes most people to read a few chapters.
  • Engineers, data processing managers, and project managers can quickly gather essential information to grasp meaning and begin effective problem solving. Managers at IDS and 3M Corporation applied the techniques to lighten their workload. They were able to read reports in 11-14 minutes that used to require hours.
  • A common complaint of business people is having to bring work-related reading home. Using PhotoReading, project teams at Dupont spent a few minutes going through important reports the night before they met. Then, the team members activated the materials for 7 minutes before discussing. Their time is focused on solving problems rather than laboriously reading with low comprehension.
  • Service technicians are delighted that they reduce their classroom study time to a fraction of the usual time. Todd Lorang, a technician at Honeywell, discovered that he could breeze through materials in a relaxed manner. Most exciting were his reports that when on the job, he could turn to key information in reference manuals instantly.
  • For those professionals who are required by their state to attend Continuing Professional Education, PhotoReading has been a blessing. In the fields of law, dentistry, nursing, and real estate, professionals are getting through classes comfortably and completing their reading in a fraction of the time with higher comprehension.

Students: Some of the best stories about PhotoReading come from students because they have so many opportunities to prove its effectiveness. Here are some examples.

  • Imagine spending 1 hour instead of 6-10 hours studying by reducing the reading time alone. Students will PhotoRead an entire semester of college texts the first night they purchase the books. Then, during the semester, they'll spend only minutes per chapter to prepare for class assignments. When they attend class, the lectures trigger recognition of the information. Competence and confidence pervades the student's work as he or she studies in a relaxed and efficient way.
  • When reading for the purpose of writing a college paper, Sue Boehlke spent a mere 30 minutes to study a 600-page book. Another PhotoReader reported reading hundreds of photocopies plus a book in 70 minutes to write a master's level paper. In both cases the students received an "A" for their work.
  • Personally, I attended a 5-week summer school Educational Psychology course in which we studied one text. During those weeks I invested 18 minutes PhotoReading and 60 minutes with the whole system. According to the national expert and professor teaching the course, I performed well enough to receive an "A" on the 2-hour essay exam final. My experience was wonderful while many students in the class complained of having to read for 9 hours in one weekend to prepare just two chapters for class.

Law: Lawyers working with case books find that they review enormous volumes in minutes. It becomes a much simpler task to pull key points from reference materials.

  • One attorney, Charles Faulkner, took 3 minutes to PhotoRead a 300-page legal specifications manual from the Department of Transportation. Then, he instantly turned to the one paragraph in the text which contained the information necessary to win the case. When the state's expert witness who had been unable to find the paragraph saw Charles perform this feat, he was stunned.

Medicine: Medical doctors keep up with the latest research without giving up so much of their valuable time. There are few professions that change quite so rapidly as medicine, and staying on top of innovative approaches is not nearly as time-consuming with PhotoReading.

  • Bernard Marichal, a medical doctor in Brussels, PhotoRead and activated several texts in his field of homeopathy. Three months later he prepared a presentation to his professional association. The brilliance of his insights inspired seven other doctors to enroll in the next PhotoReading course in Belgium.

Personal Development: Think of the impact of getting through all the unread piles of books for self-improvement.

  • Before sleeping at night, you can PhotoRead positive and uplifting books. The material makes deep impressions on the inner mind and will have beneficial influences on your life the next day. PhotoReading can also influence the dream state in positive ways.
  • PhotoReading skill-based "how-to" books has proven to make a difference. Two friends played tennis for years. One of them took the PhotoReading course and PhotoRead five books on tennis. His game immediately improved so significantly that the other man was stunned. When he inquired about how the miraculous improvement occurred, he signed up for the next PhotoReading class. The end result was the same improvement in his own tennis game.

Beyond the paradigm of PhotoReading

Who knows what the future will bring? Someday there may even be techniques that go beyond PhotoReading.

Until then, PhotoReaders will continue to absorb useful information from all forms of written materials and actively shape the world around them. The potentials of PhotoReading are limited only by one's imagination.


References

Dixon, N.F. Preconscious Processing. NY: Wiley, 1981.
Investor's Daily, "A Typical Executive Spends 38% of the Day Reading," by The Associated Press. August 16, 1991, Education section.
Perfetti, Charles A. Reading Ability. NY: Oxford University Press, 1985.
Scheele, Paul R. PhotoReading. Minneapolis, MN: Learning Strategies Corporation, 1993.
Scheele, Paul R. PhotoReading personal learning course. Minneapolis, MN: Learning Strategies Corporation, 1995.
Smith, Frank. Reading Without Nonsense. Columbia University, NY: Teachers College Press, 1979.
Stauffer, Russell. Teaching Reading As A Thinking Process. NY: Harper & Row, 1969.
Wenger, Win. A Method for Personal Growth & Development. Gaithersburg, MD: Project Renaissance, 1987.
Wolff, J. Gerard. "Computing, Cognition and Information Compression." AI Communications 6(2), 107-127, 1993.
Zink, Nelson. "Nightwalking." Anchor Point, Vol. 6, No. 7, July 1992.

 

PhotoReading and New Pathways to the Inner Mind

by Paul Scheele, MA

Discovering New Pathways

Graduates of the PhotoReading course report improvements in information processing including increased reading speed, comprehension, and recall or use of information. Most interestingly, participants with closed head injuries, brain-lesion survivors of traumatic head injuries and strokes, extreme low-vision persons, and diagnosed dyslexics have also reported benefits after graduating successfully from the course.

PhotoReading presupposes the existence of direct visual pathways to the brain that are nonconscious. However, in 1985, when PhotoReading was first developed, little research was available that could explain how the brain produces the results experienced by PhotoReading graduates.

One remarkable case is that of Dr. Isaac Katzeff, a former professor of neurology at the University of South Africa in Johannesburg. Dr.Katzeff was trained in PhotoReading and several years later suffered a stroke in the primary visual cortex (V1, associated with conscious visual perception). He lost one-quarter of his visual field and his capacity to comprehend written information. Several months after Katzeff's stroke, he began experimenting with PhotoReading. He found that any information he would PhotoRead, he could then read with comprehension. Because he had a confirmed V1 lesion, he hypothesized that perhaps there is an alternative visual pathway that allows visual processing and comprehension through a route that is nonconscious.

Within a year, breakthrough research addressed Dr.Katzeff's hypothesis. In the neuroscience journal Brain, J.L. Barbur et al. wrote an article entitled "Conscious Visual Perception Without V1." Their conclusion confirmed Dr. Katzeff's experience and hypothesis. In it they stated, "The results showed that area V5 (specialized for visual motion) was active without a parallel activation of area V1, implying that the visual input can reach V5 without passing first through V1 and that such an input is sufficient for both the discrimination and the conscious awareness of the visual stimulus" (Barbur et al. 1293).

Can Learning Occur Without Consciousness?

In addition to the visual processing studies of Barbur et al., other researchers have demonstrated nonconscious acquisition of information is possible (Dixon; Lewicki et al.). The task of the PhotoReading whole mind system has been to instruct people in an easy-to-use protocol for gaining utility of this innate capacity of the brain.

The question remains, what accounts for the behavioral demonstration of learning even though the PhotoReader does not consciously report what information had been acquired? Studies have revealed two fundamentally different ways of learning. We learn what the world is about—acquiring knowledge of people, places, and things that are available to consciousness—using a form of memory that is commonly called explicit. Or we learn how to do things—acquiring motor or perceptual skills that are unavailable to consciousness—using implicit memory" (Kandel et al. 656).

From anecdotal reports of PhotoReading graduates, the results of PhotoReading appear coherent in light of studies on implicit memory. "Implicit memory has an automatic or reflexive quality, and its formation and recall are not absolutely dependent on awareness or cognitive processes. This type of memory...is expressed primarily by improved performance and cannot ordinarily be expressed in words" (Kandel et al. 658). The unique neurological system through which implicit memory operates may be the same system through which PhotoReading works. The neurological maps used during implicit learning with amnesia patients are well charted using PET (Positron-Emission Tomography) and MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging). A brain scan during PhotoReading sessions might obtain clinical evidence of the PhotoReading process and confirm its connection with implicit memory. "Amnesics are able to perform certain tasks involving implicit memory, despite a lack of conscious knowledge of the information used in performing those tasks, and without being able to recall when and where they learned the relevant information or skill" (Farthing 136). PhotoReading seems to have a profound impact on a form of learning called priming, commonly associated with implicit memory.

Priming is the recognition of words or objects facilitated by prior exposure to words or visual clues. Subjects in priming experiments can recall the cued item better than other items for which no cues had been provided. Similarly, when shown the first few letters of a previously studied word, amnesic subjects often correctly select the previously presented word, even though they cannot remember seeing the word before. Priming has effects independent from explicit memory. Tulving and Schacter suggest that perceptual priming indicates a newly discovered type of memory, the perceptual representation system (PRS).

"The PRS involves specialized brain modules, probably in the anterior occipital lobes (forward of the striate area) for visual stimuli. The PRS is normally connected with episodic-semantic memory systems, but it can become disconnected from them and continue to function on its own, as in amnesia. The PRS can operate nonconsciously. Thus, the PRS can produce perceptual priming effects, without subjects being aware that they were previously exposed to the stimuli in the experimental context" (Farthing 136).

Conclusions

The practice of PhotoReading is one of mentally photographing the written page at rates that exceed a page per second. It is an unorthodox approach to processing written information and may involve new visual and neural pathways into the brain. When PhotoReading is used in conjunction with the other steps of the PhotoReading whole mind system, the reader has new options for getting through any form of written materials in the time available at a needed level of comprehension. The evidence of direct visual access to regions of the brain that are nonconscious supports the premise of PhotoReading. In addition, the existence of the perceptual representation system and its nonconscious operation suggest explanation for many of the anecdotal reports of PhotoReading graduates.

Finally, a well researched form of learning through implicit memory implies that direct learning of skills could occur without involvement of the conscious mind. The most significant result of PhotoReading may not be limited just to improved reading skills. Perhaps this system unlocks the learning capabilities of the nonconscious mind.


References:

Barbur, J.L., et al. "Conscious Visual Perception Without V1." Brain, 1993, Vol. 116; 1293-1302.
Dixon, N.F. Preconscious Processing. NY: Wiley, 1981.
Farthing, G.W. The Psychology of Consciousness. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1992.
Lewicki, P., et al. "Nonconscious Acquisition of Information." American Psychologist, June 1992, Vol. 47, No. 6; 796-801.
Tulving, E. and D.L. Schacter. "Priming and Human Memory System." Quoted by G.W. Farthing in The Psychology of Consciousness. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1992.



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Satisfied Customers

"After PhotoReading a series of books, it is like sitting in front of a panel of experts and being able to shoot questions to them."
Huy Nguy, Process Development Engineer, 3M
St. Paul, Minnesota

"I PhotoRead every book on chess and every document on actual chess games I could find. Strategies outlined in the books began appearing in my own playing. Within a year I earned the title of State Co-Champion. I now teach chess, and I encourage everyone to use PhotoReading to improve their game."
Leonard Johnson
Minneapolis, Minnesota


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