Typoglycemia

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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.[1] No such research was carried out at the University of Cambridge.[1]

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.[1]

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[2] from Graham Rawlinson of the University of Nottingham in which he discusses his 1976 Ph.D. thesis[3] or perhaps by the research of Thomas R. Jordan's group on the relative influences of the exterior and interior letters of words.[4]

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References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c 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.
  2. ^ Rawlinson, Graham (29 May 1999). "Reibadailty". New Scientist (2188). Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  3. ^ 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 Psychology Department, University of Nottingham, Nottingham UK (unpublished).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)
  4. ^ 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

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