I was reading this question and remember back to the 70s when our local newspaper changed formats. In an article about why they made the changes that they did, one of the points they mentioned was that by making the columns narrower, you would retain more because the brain didn't process the words when the eyes were moving.
Over the past few years working in instructional design, I've often wanted to cite a reference for my newspaper's statement, or at the very least a reference that debunks it. I've been unsuccessful finding anything on google, but I'm not sure if I'm asking the right questions or not. It may very well be that this was a theory in the 70's, since disproven, junk science, or something very real for which I've not stumbled upon the right search terms.
In any case, it seems to me that I'm the only person in the world whose ever heard this idea, and I'd like to find some reference, positive or negative, to it. Can anyone direct me to some research on the topic?