Leaving two spaces after the end of every sentence makes it easier to read and understand than single space. This is a method that was used back when typewriters were the fastest way to print out documents.
Scientists now believe that the processing of read information happens more effectively when sentences have double spaces between them. This was found by a team of three researchers at Skidmore College reports MedicalXpress. The practice of giving double spaces was a requirement in the typewriter days because they typically used monospaced fonts and without extra space between sentences, it could be difficult to see where a period mark came in a paragraph, notes the report.
However, when people transitioned to computer-aided word processing, many continued to make use of double spaces and this caused a fair deal of debate, mostly about the way it looks, notes the report. One school of though claims that double spacing is unaesthetic, but the other side always maintained that it was better for reading. Also, the original reason to double-space was rendered moot because digital word processors use proportional fonts, so it is not really needed anymore.
It was based on this debate that the researchers started their study, notes the report.
For the study, 60 volunteer readers were enlisted, notes the report. They were each told to type a page of text to find out if they were natively single or double spaced typers. After this, they each were tasked with reading different types of text. The text offered to read was of three types- one with double spaces only at full stops, one with double spaces at both full stops as well as commas, and one without any extra spacing. As the test subjects began to read, the researchers used eye tracking to see how much effort was needed for people to read. After the reading was done, the subjects were also put through a comprehension test.
Results of the study proved that while extra spacing did help in reading faster- the additional spaces did not actually make reading slower. Having said that, there was no noticeable difference in the comprehension tests that followed.
The research was first published in the journal Attention, Perception, and Psychophysics.
The text in this story has double spaces and single spaces in alternating paragraphs.