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Rants, Raves, Interesting Science & Awful Puns
June 19, 2005

See What I Mean?

There's A Pattern To It

Although it might cause your spell checker to throw a fit, the remarkable thing about the paragraph below is that for a competent reader it's quite easy to follow.

I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid Aoccdrnig to rscheearch taem 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 be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Such a cdonition is arppoiately cllaed Typoglycemia :)

Amzanig huh? Yaeh and yuo awlyas thought slpeling was ipmorantt.

Sent to me by Sandra Hogan in Australia.

An interesting illustration of how, with learning, the brain takes in and interprets information in larger units. Adult readers can skim quickly along a line because they recognize the general forms and structures of words that are expected in a given context. A beginner, by contrast, has to assemble each syllable from its constituent letters and string them together. In a similar kind of way, musicians learn to process scores as chords and phrases, and laboriously practiced dance steps become integrated into sequences of subroutines that execute automatically. With learning and repetition, enormous repertoires of low-level detail are consigned to the unconscious, enabling the mind's conscious faculties to attend to higher-level tasks. So we can enjoy the visual scenery and carry on a conversation while taking a walk, completely forgetting the effort it took as infants to master each of those abilities.

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