Typoglycemia is a neologism for a purported recent discovery about the cognitive processes behind reading written text. The word appears to be a portmanteau of "typo", as in typographical error, and "hypoglycemia". It is an urban legend/Internet meme that appears to have an element of truth to it. No such research was carried out at the University of Cambridge.
An example of this text, as circulated in September 2003, reads as follows:
Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.
A few mistakes were made:
- The word "researcher" looked like "researchch" was scrambled, with "er" being replaced with "ch";
- The word "important" looked like "importent", a misspelling of the word, was scrambled.
These emails may have been inspired by a letter to New Scientist in 1999 from Graham Rawlinson of the University of Nottingham in which he discusses his 1976 Ph.D. thesis or perhaps by the research of Thomas R. Jordan's group on the relative influences of the exterior and interior letters of words.
- Davis, Matt (2012). "Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. [...]". MRC: Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit. Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, Cambridge University. Retrieved 2016-07-04.
- Rawlinson, Graham (29 May 1999). "Reibadailty". New Scientist (2188). Retrieved 4 July 2016.
- Rawlinson, G.E. (1976). The Significance of Letter Position in Word Recognition (Ph.D.). Psychology Department, University of Nottingham, Nottingham UK (unpublished). (Cited in Davis 2012)
- Massaro, Dominic; Jesse, Alexandra (17 March 2005), "The Magic of Reading: Too Many Influences for Quick and Easy Explanations", in Trabasso, Thomas R.; Sabatini, John P.; Massaro, Dominic W.; Calfee, Robert, From Orthography to Pedagogy: Essays in Honor of Richard L. Venezky, p. 42, ISBN 978-0805850895
- Rawlinson, Graham (2012). Davis, Matt, ed. "The Significance of Letter Position in Word Recognition [...] A Summary". MRC - Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit - People. Retrieved 2016-07-04.
- Abstract of Graham Rawlinson's Thesis in Aerospace and Electronic Systems Magazine, IEEE, Jan 2007
- Jordan, T.R. (1990). Presenting words without interior letters: Superiority over single letters and influence of postmask boundaries. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 16, 893-909.
- Mandell, Judy (2017). "Chunking: The Brain’s Shortcut to Understanding and Recalling Information," March 2017, Observer.com.
- Online typoglycemia generator.