February 28th, 2009
I was forwarded this on Facebook, and rather forward it on to a few others, I thought I’d put it out there for everybody:
fi yuo cna raed tihs, yuo hvae a sgtrane mnid too. Cna yuo raed tihs? Olny 56 plepoe out of 100 can.
i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno’t mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be
in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tih! s is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!
Yes, I can read it, but I don’t find that in anyway amazing or surprising, and I certainly do not think my ability to read it implies that there might be anything strange about my mind- especially considering “only” 56 out of 100 people can read it- hello, people! Not even my maths is that bad! 56% is a majority! But I do find myself wondering where, precisely, this came from and what research at Cambridge University it refers to.
So why can I read it? Just off the top of my head, I can think of a few possible answers:
- Word games. Kids are given word games as part of their education- both formal and informal- and so learn to do things like find words in a wordsearch or unscramble letters to spell the word correctly. Some of us continue playing word games like crosswords into adulthood. Hey, crosswords are fun and good exercise for the brain.
- Work. A large part of my job involves interpreting crazy concoctions of letters and strange jumbles of words to show students how they should’ve written things.
- This sentence: “Tih! s is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. ” And that makes perfect sense when you think of the Chinese language. The question is why does the brain function that way? Is it natural, or a result of our education?
But I don’t see anything to be proud of in being one of “only” 56% of people who can read that. First up, that’s a majority. A slim majority, but a majority nevertheless. Secondly, 56% of what people? Clearly that is not 56% of the total global population. The majority of people in this world do not read English and therefore have no hope of being able to read that text. 56% of people who do read English? Perhaps, and I just showed it to lzh who read it to me easily. 56% of literate native English speakers? Plausible, I guess. And how did they come up with that number?
Oh well, it’s good for a little fun, I suppose.