The science of reading : information, media, and mind in modern America / Adrian Johns.
Book | The University of Chicago Press | 2023

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xii, 490 pages : illustrations (black and white) ; 24 cm
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Introduction : the most mysterious art of reading -- A new science -- The work of the eye -- Reading, looking, and learning in Chicago -- What books did to readers -- Readability, intelligence, and race -- You're not as smart as you could be -- Exploring readers -- Reading wars and science wars -- Readers, machines, and an information revolution -- Conclusion : reading, science, and history.
"The Science of Reading is the surprisingly unsung history of scientific research into reading practices, from the origin of the field in German psychophysics to its current extension into digital and online areas. Starting in the late nineteenth century and continuing through to the present, the practice of reading has been made the subject of extensive scientific investigation, and historian Adrian Johns here explores the questions that motivated this research program, the technologies that enabled it, the ambitions that drove it, and the consequences it produced as it was carried out. Its champions' ambitions extended far beyond the laboratory: psychological experimenters were keen to point out that everything in a modern society depended on the population's ability to read, and to read well. These scientists sought to reconstruct mass education, and the childhood experiences of millions of Americans were reshaped according to their maxims. They sought to transform mass capitalism, and, following a national campaign to boost "reading efficiency," the workplace experiences of millions of American adults shifted as well. They sought to place the defense of the nation on a secure footing, and so servicemen and spies were subjected to their science, from the heart of the Pentagon to the decks of aircraft carriers in the Pacific. By the end of the twentieth century, Johns argues, it would not be an exaggeration to say that modernity itself had been substantially shaped by the conscious application of the scientific study of reading"-- Provided by publisher.
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University of Chicago. Press,
9780226821481 hardcover
022682148X hardcover
9780226821498 electronic book
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