Samuel Renshaw

Psychologist, Author

1892 – 1981


Who was Samuel Renshaw?

Samuel Renshaw was an American psychologist whose work became famous for a short period of time during World War II when he taught sailors to identify enemy aircraft in a split second, using tachistoscopic training. He generally worked with fast-reading and enhancing the latent ability of the mind. He believed that most people used only one-fifth of their available mind-power to process information. By using methods of flashing pages he produced students who could read upwards of 1,200 to 1,400 words per minute.

Robert A. Heinlein depicted the technique in several of his works, including Citizen of the Galaxy and Gulf; and mentioned Renshaw in the context of the training of Fair Witnesses in Stranger in a Strange Land. His FAQ cited an article on Renshaw's studies in the Saturday Evening Post for April 17, 24, and May 1, 1948, “You’re Not As Smart As You Could Be.”

This technique and equipment appeared at the Ravenswood School District for a short time in the 1960s. Several young students were used in the experiment. Film strip readers and page-at-a-glance equipment were used.

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on July 23, 2013


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