Reflection and anxiety as they affect comprehension gains in speed reading

Fifty-five secondary students were selected for a pilot study to test the relationship between the cognitive styles of reflection and impulsivity with performance on speed reading tasks. Ss were divided into three treatment groups--(group I--high pressure, impulsive atmosphere, stress on speed; group II--low pressure, reflective atmosphere, stress on accuracy; group III--control group, combination of programs). All groups were administered the Matching Familiar Figures Test, Lorge Thorndike IQ Test, Casteneda Manifest Anxiety Test, and Learn, Inc., Reading Tests (pre and post). Each treatment group was compared for reading comprehension and reading rate gains in terms of those students identified as reflective, impulsive and "other" as well as those identified as highly anxious or moderately anxious. Comparisons were made using an analysis of covariance using reading comprehension and reading rate separately as variables, with IQ, anxiety, reading level, and cognitive style as covariates. It was hypothesized that reflectives would do better than impulsives and "others" in all groups, that the reflective atmosphere (low pressure, open structure, stress on accuracy) would produce higher comprehension scores, and that highly anxious students would show little if any comprehension gain. Analysis of the data revealed no significant differences in comprehension scores between treatment groups, or between reflective and impulsives, or between highly anxious Ss and all other Ss. Only Group I (impulsive atmosphere) had a significantly greater increase in reading rate as compared with the other two treatment groups. Although all three main hypotheses had to be rejected statistically, trends were noticed which suggested the possibility of further modification of this experiment to discover new covariates which account for differences in reading comprehension growth.