Typoglycemia is a neologism given to 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 Cambridge University.
The creation of such email messages started with a letter to the New Scientist magazine from Graham Rawlinson of Nottingham University in which he discusses his Ph.D. thesis, suggesting to keep the first and last two letters of each word:
A more plausible scientific basis to the origins of this work is given by Dominic Massaro, who identifies Tim Jordan and his colleagues who, based on their published research investigating the relative influences of the exterior and interior letters of words (first published in 1990), showed over a number of papers that the exterior letters of words are special in reading.
- 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 Psychology Department, University of Nottingham, Nottingham UK (unpublished).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 (17 March 2005). Trabasso, Thomas R.; Sabatini, John P.; Massaro, Dominic W.; Calfee, Robert, eds. From Orthography to Pedagogy: Essays in Honor of Richard L. Venezky. ISBN 978-0805850895. (Publication data from Amazon.)
- Try it yourself. Paste any block of code and see how well you can read the scrambled version—Tony Dunn
- 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.