Friday, September 21, 2007

Surprising Study on How We Read

Thanks to Slashdot for this gem from the BBC News:
...the eyes often focussed on different letters in the same word, about two characters apart, he said.

"They could be uncrossed, in the sense that the two lines of sight are not crossed when you look at a word, or alternatively the two lines of sight may be crossed," he added.

Infographic of eye movement while reading
The team's results demonstrated that both eyes lock on to the same letter 53% of the time; for 39% of the time they see different letters with uncrossed eyes; and for 8% of the time the eyes are crossing to focus on different letters.

Perhaps this is the process behind this meme that has been making the rounds of the net for several years now:
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.
Having trouble reading it? Just relax and let your eyes scan it.

More info on this meme here. (Don't be a victim, the "Cambridge research" part is misleading)

The BBC News article is here.

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