Wednesday, February 9, 2011

How Well Do You Know Your ABCs?
Today is one of those days that I said "Wow, today is Wednesday and I have nothing prepared.  What to do?  I have been absorbing all the hints, tips and tricks for finding topics found in the forum at Tribal Blogs.  I decided to utilize some of what I've read, and the result is today's post.

Jumbled Words

Now we've all seen this kind of thing before, but it seems there was an unsubstantiated study into how the human brain interprets words.  It takes the position that only the first and last letters are needed for us to translate the text.  Take a look at the following paragraph and try to read it like you normally would. 

"Arocdnicg to rsceearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer are in the rghit pcale. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit pobelrm. Tihs is buseace the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe."*

So, did it make sense?  It seems fairly simple, and I think that the context of the sentence has significant influence our ability to interpret this.  As the "study" indicates it is because we do not read individual letters, but the entire word.

I tried my hand at a nonsensical jumbled word sentence.

The gnait tdedy baer csuemond smliy fsih form a snaagtnt pnod, and sqsetnelubuy tosfrenaemrd itno a pophatchyisc sraeil knlilig mtsoner.

Did your brain translate as you read?  What does it say?

Whether or not there have actually been studies done on this, it is still amazing that despite all the misspellings, we can still read it.  What are your thoughts and theories?


  1. Hi Linda .. I did see this study .. and thought yes I could read it - I'm afraid I thought not much more .. but do worry as who is going to interpret rules, regulations and laws .. or write them as we go forward towards 2100 ..

    It's an interesting time - is all I can say .. cheers Hilary

  2. I was thrilled when I learned this. It explained why, no matter how thoroughly I proof read something, there is ALWAYS a damn typo that I don't find until it's too late.

  3. Hilary- Apparently the interpretation is easier than the writing. These are interesting times.

    Janye- It does seem that we, or at least I, read what is supposed to be there, not necessarily what was written.

  4. I do believe this is totally true. I don't see typo's of mine or of other peoples precisely because I see what I expect to see. Amazing really!

  5. It's interesting how we fill in the proper words just from a couple of visual prompts. Fascinating. It's one of the reasons that I never do a final edit on my writing - I'm too apt to skip over any typos :)

  6. We see what we expect to see. Fascinating.

  7. Linda's comment intrigues me. How is it that we can read the jumbled words and we can also see typos? I do see typos (not mine but I can spot them on other posts) and I know what they mean to say....which just answers my question. Nevermind.

    Thanks for shout out, I'm glad you are getting ideas from the forum.

  8. I had no trouble reading the sentence that made sense, but the second one was pure gobbledygook to me!

    As for seeing typos? I taught Elementary School for 25 years, so I'm used to grading papers!!

    I follow you on ExposeYourBlog.

  9. Haha, jayne nailed it! It is amazing, the efficiency of the human brain.

  10. Oh yes, I've seen this before and find it fascinating. I did read your jumbled sentence but it took a tad longer than the example before it. The first one I was able to read at the same speed as if it was written properly. Yours took some hesitation.

    I read: "The giant teddy bear consumed slimy fish from a stagnant pond, and subsequently transformed into a psychopathic serial killing monster"

  11. Linda- Sometimes I find my after the post has been published. Thank goodness for "edit".

    Talon- No matter how much I proof my work, I still find typos, missing words, etc.

    cube- It is very interesting. That's why I miss mistakes.

    Jen- I'm not sure how it all works, and maybe it's different for different people.

    Dirty Butter- The second one was supposed to be harder as a comparison to make my point about context. We got the gist of the paragraph and the words came easier. My was nonsense and should have been more difficult.

    tattytiara- The human brain is complex and amazing.

    Hilary- You got it! Thanks for trying my sentence. It was interesting trying to write a sentence full of misspelled words.

    Jayne - My apologies for misspelling your name. :(


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