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Dien Rice
October 15, 2009, 04:55 PM
Cna yuo raed tihs? Olny 55% of plepoe can.

I cdnuolt blveiee waht I was rdanieg. Due to 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. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig, huh? And I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!
Thanks Fishman!

Many people would be surprised to find out that there could be some practical use to this...

Anyway, inspired by your post, I did some research.

Many places you find this on the web claim that it comes from research at Cambridge University. Apparently, that's incorrect...

However, it may originally come from research done by Graham Rawlinson in 1976 at Nottingham University (in the UK), according to the book "Speed Reading for Dummies (http://books.google.com/books?id=JYQ99YJPG_oC&pg=PT106&lpg=PT106&dq=jumbled+letters+speed+reading&source=bl&ots=kxYksG_pJ3&sig=ITAcDoBphE9nS2QtpxNJKkr9BAo&hl=en&ei=a4XXStu_D4mIkAXHyr3OCA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=10&ved=0CC4Q6AEwCQ#v=onepage&q=jumbled%20letters%20speed%20reading&f=false)" (p.94)...

There has also been a followup study done in 2006 (http://blogs.msdn.com/fontblog/archive/2006/05/09/594050.aspx) by researchers at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and the University of Durham.

They found that the jumbled words do slow your reading down.

People could read normally at 255 words per minute (wpm). However, when internal letters of the words were jumbled, they slowed down to 227 wpm. When only the final letter of each word was jumbled, their reading slowed down to 189 wpm (even slower than when internal letters were jumbled). When just the beginning letter of each word was jumbled, people's reading slowed down to 163 wpm.

This gives us clues on how we read. It shows that we place much more importance on the beginning and end letters for reading, than we do on the internal letters of a word.

How can this be used in a practical sense? Some software that is supposed to help you learn how to speed read jumbles the letters of the words, and lets you practice reading words with jumbled letters. Perhaps, by "training" yourself to read better with jumbled letters, you can improve your speed reading skills. (I don't know if this is proven - but we can put it forward as a hypothesis!)

Here is an example of such a web page (http://ababasoft.com/words/mix_letters.html)...

Here is also an interesting summary of research on word recognition (http://www.microsoft.com/typography/ctfonts/WordRecognition.aspx)...

So, thanks for sharing that!

Best wishes,


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